The Garden City Telegram
7/8/2014
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Budget plus: Multiple benefits materialize amid retail growth in the city.

Garden City property owners received a bit of good news from local government.

The Garden City Commission crafted a 2015 budget that takes care of needs, and with a proposed 1 mill reduction in the city's property tax levy. Local officials credited the positive development to sound financial management and strong economic activity.

The proposed $86.5 million budget will be addressed in a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

It's worth noting the city's total valuation for 2015 rose to just more than $175 million, about $6.4 million more than the previous year.

That said, the savvy investment in retail growth initiatives was most notable in the mill levy decision. The new Menards store, which opened a year ago, helped the city realize sales tax collections now 6.8 percent ahead of collections at the same point a year ago.

Additional store openings planned as part of the Schulman Crossing retail development and elsewhere in the community promise to boost the good fortune. The city's growth as a regional shopping draw also should help established businesses bring additional patrons through their doors to spend money, putting still more dollars in city coffers.

Of course, not all in the community were in favor of deals cut to bring new retail to town. When such opportunities arise, the question must be whether the benefit of the strategies outweighs the cost.

Local officials knew Garden City could bank on higher sales-tax revenue to help fund local services and improvements — and with a sizable chunk of those taxes paid by folks from out of town who head here to shop and eat.

The community also had cause to be aggressive in improving its position as a regional destination since other area communities also offered incentives to foster the same kind of growth. What's happening in Garden City has indeed become the envy of a good number of towns in the state and region.

New retail shopping and dining opportunities understandably have been greeted with enthusiasm by local residents. Consider the welcome development in a lower mill levy an added plus.