Sales tax revenue continues to increase
By Stuart Hughes
According to the City of Mobridge’s financial statements, sales tax revenues set record highs in 2011 and since 2003, revenues are up 60 percent.
Mayor Jamie Dietterle said the increased numbers show that Mobridge is a growing and healthy economy with potential.
“The numbers are a big boost for the city,” said Dietterle. “Mobridge is building and preparing for an influx of people.”
Dietterle said the city is in an ideal financial position and that over the years, Mobridge has stayed inside its budget and not spent beyond its means. He also said the city maintains a balance in keeping adequate reserves and maintaining eligibility for state and federal funding.
“We try to keep money in reserve when we can,” said Dietterle. “And we only spend money on necessary projects and always keep a balanced budget.”
Finance Officer Heather Beck said thanks to this philosophy, the city has maintained its economic health and paved the way for future economic security. One way the city balances its budget is by designating previously undesignated funds. Designating previously undesignated reserve funds serves two advantages for a city. By doing so, a city maintains its availability to apply for grant funds and covers expenses it knows it will need to cover in the future. By designating funds, Beck said, the city is hedging against future expenses, and maintaining fiscal responsibility.
Of the $100,000 the city has put towards future capital outlay that includes buildings and equipment owned and operated by the city, $40,000 has been designated for a new pool, $15,000 for fire equipment, $8,000 for upgrades to the city’s trail system, and $20,000 for street equipment and $10,000 for an airport fuel tank.
Recently, funding was approved for a water tower renovation and upgrades to city storm sewers. Also in the works are upgrades to the A.H. Brown Library, an addition to the Mobridge Regional Hospital and completion of the Main Street Crossing project.
City administrator Steve Gasser said Mobridge has shown exceptional growth where other cities its size are seeing decreased numbers. “Last year was phenomenal,” said Gasser. “Listening to the news everybody’s down, but we’re fortunate here that revenue has actually gone up.”
Part of this may be due to an increased effort to market the city through a tourism tax. In 2004, Mobridge levied a 3B tax, or “bed booze, and breakfast tax.” The tax is a penny tax on tourism and revenue from the tax goes to advertising to promote Mobridge’s tourism industry with roughly one third of the tax going into economic development, 10 percent going into a reserve fund and 60 percent goes into funding events that bring business to Mobridge
Jesse Konold of the 3B tax committee said the city is doing a good job promoting itself and bringing people to its many events throughout the year. He said Mobridge is benefiting from increased interest in the area and what it has to offer.
“We’re becoming a top tier vacation destination,” said Konold “We’re seeing an influx of people coming into Mobridge and enjoying our city.”
Michele Harrison of the Chamber of Commerce said the increase advertising and promotion is potentially paying dividends. She said the 3B tax is crucial to fund the advertising that brings people and business to Mobridge.
“Obviously, Mobridge is doing something correctly,” said Harrison “Our economy is doing better than people think, commerce is happening and numbers are up.”
Each month, between $5,000 and $10,000 is raised to advertise the events that boost Mobridge’s economy year round. The Chamber recently purchased a 22-foot long enclosed trailer that houses an event tent available for cities and individuals to rent. The trailer is wrapped with a picture of Lake Oahe and travels to cities in the surrounding area. Harrison said the idea is that the city of Mobridge is a commerce hub and its welfare is closely related to the health of its surrounding area’s economy. By making certain Mobridge services available to smaller communities in the area, regional health is improved.
“The tent travels to other communities and is good advertising for our city. If we can help out our surrounding area it makes everybody better off,” said Harrison.
– Stuart Hughes –