Voter-initiated dwindling city revenues are taking their toll on many communities across Washington state. One beneficial outcome of this revenue shortfall is that many cities are getting more creative about increasing their revenues to provide basic services. The areas not impacted by recent voter mandates are sales tax and business and operation (B & O) taxes. While I personally think B & O taxes really are a form of double dipping, sales tax is something that can help a local municipality. And by promoting business within a community, the city can grow its revenue. It is the first step in breaking down some of the barriers that have been erected in many communities, preventing an open and free economy.
Although I am typically skeptical of city-based efforts at economic development, I do believe both Snoqualmie and North Bend recognize the need to enhance their economic conditions to attract business and the almighty dollar.
Snoqualmie is heading down the path by hiring Roger Brooks of Destination Development to figure out where they need to go. I still think the outcome will be somewhat obvious, but I do anxiously anticipate his findings and suggestions.
North Bend, on the other hand, has taken a grass-roots approach, probably because of a lack of huge dollars to hire consultants. Both methods will give us some needed guidance and in the long run, possibly allow both towns to survive and even prosper.
But here is where we can help. The city of North Bend mailed out over 7,000 surveys last week to residents in the 98045 ZIP code. The city is asking our input and has made it as easy as going to its Web site: http://ci.north-bend.wa.us and filling it out online. The information will be used to formulate plans to stimulate North Bend’s economy. For those who think the local economy needs no stimulation, well, thanks for shopping in Issaquah.
I always say, it’s OK to complain about the problems if you are willing to get in and find a solution. Whiners from the cheap seats are nothing more than that…whiners. These might be harsh words, but then again, if you really care about our community, you should be willing to help in some way.
So go fill out the survey and give the city your two cents. The benefit will outweigh the time it takes to fill out the survey.