Although old man winter is late this year, Thanksgiving still kicked off the holiday giving season.
Assuming you made it through Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, as Noel Night approaches this Friday, it seems like a good time to review the city’s budget, the importance of shopping locally and paying local sales tax.
Durango runs on sales tax. Almost half of the city’s budget (48 percent) comes from the general fund which is 58 percent funded with sales tax. Of the 7.9 percent each of us pays at the register for retail sales – restaurants, groceries, gas and gifts – the city keeps 3 percent, the state takes 2.9 percent and the county retains and redistributes part of the remaining 2 percent.
Of the city’s 3 percent, two-thirds goes to the general fund and pays for things like police and fire protection, street maintenance and local not-for-profit organizations. The remaining third is dedicated to parks, recreation and multi-modal projects, open space management and debt service for the library and Florida Road.
The remaining fifty-two percent of the city’s budget is comprised of seven enterprise funds with distinct funding mechanisms (and rules for their use) like the lodgers tax – which supports the Durango Tourism Fund, specifically the Durango Area Tourism Office – and parking fees at the airport, which support the Airport Enterprise Fund and airport operations.
Running Durango is a big operation – almost $89 million a year in 2018. And here is where you come in. Though it is tempting to grab that latest online deal, consider that our community loses out if you do.
Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona explained at the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance’s Economic Summit in October why it is better to look local first. It’s a concept the Durango Chamber of Commerce and Local First have long promoted, and Lanning defined as a challenge: If we shift just 10 percent of our shopping from national to local – the community will benefit well beyond the sales tax revenue.
According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, $10 million in sales with locally-owned independent retailers supports 110 jobs. With chain retailers, those same sales support 50 jobs, and at Amazon, just 14 jobs. Lanning defines the choice as one between “convenience and relationships.”
For example, the decision to purchase a new dress from Animas Trading, instead of Amazon, supports a business owner who employs your friend or family member, likely donates to area not-for-profits and may be an active community volunteer. Layers of relationships are created from that sale.
Visitors consistently remark about how friendly people are in Durango. Perhaps that is because a majority of residents are able to take advantage of the numerous recreational amenities our city provides year after year – supported by local sales tax.
City council is poised to adopt the 2018 budget on Tuesday.