Posted 9/13/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
The Tioga Commission voted in a preliminary budget that trims departments as the city prepares for a lean year.
Part of the city’s revenue loss is from local sales tax, and local businesses are definitely feeling the decline.
Despite slowing down, though, the businesses are generally reporting steady sales and a situation that’s far from dire.
“We’re down from where we were last year, but we’re not going to shut down by any means,” said Nathan Germundson, owner of Ace Hardware.
Karen Vetch, owner of the Farmer’s Daughter, said her business is also doing all right.
“It’s not like 2013 or 2014, but it’s good,” she said.
Dennis Lindahl, coordinator for the Economic Development Corporation, said falling sales tax revenue needs to be looked at in a context of a lot of different factors.
The falling taxes are not good, but there’s a positive development to be considered when you look at things like sustained school enrollment rates.
“There are definitely more families living in the area. That leads to a better quality of life,” Lindahl said.
He estimated the end of the boom brought with it a 50 percent decline in some salaries.
Truckers, for example, would make $80,000 to $120,000 a year. While that kind of cash is great for individual employees, it’s not always a sign of a healthy economy.
For one, it attracts a lot of transient workers who send their money home rather than spend it here.
It also makes it hard for businesses outside the oil industry to hire people.
After the storm
With housing prices coming down and wages affordable for small businesses, the economy may not have as much sales tax revenue, Lindahl said, but it has a more stable quality of life.
For all the hardships that came out of the boom and the challenges the oil patch is facing in the wake of the slowdown, some positive things may remain.
Tim Joyce, owner of Tioga Drug, said his business is down from the boom, but he’s still seeing new faces picking up their prescriptions.
“We’re much better off than we were 10 years ago,” Joyce said.