Support our new neighbors but dont forget our old friends

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Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendalls arms must be getting tired from lugging the over-sized pair of scissors to all the ribbon cuttings hes been to recently.
Among others, there has already been the opening of the Harley-Davidson store and the new Costco at Lakewood Crossing, which will be joined this week by the official opening of the new Kohls store as well as the new Target. Throw in a couple of Wal-Marts and other stores that are in the planning stages, and North County shoppers should be able to find whatever they need without ever having to leave our own communities.
While all the new stores may have some drawbacks most notably increased traffic in some areas they do offer a number of significant benefits to our communities and those who reside here.
First, these new stores will increase the employment opportunities in our area. The new Costco expects to employs as many as 320 people while the new Kohls will add approximately 200 jobs. The other new stores opening in the area will also add to that total. Hopefully the money earned by all those employees will stay in the community adding to the economic well-being of all of our local businesses.
Second, it will allow our community members to do more of their shopping locally. In the past, local shoppers would have to travel to Everett, Lake Stevens or other areas to shop at a Costco or Target now they will be able to do it in their own community.
And, the new retail stores offer a new source of income for Marysville city coffers. It is expected the new Costco will generate about $500,000 per year in sales tax revenue for the city. Given that the city collected approximately $4.8 million in total sales tax for all of 2005, the new revenue generated by just that one Costco store represents more than a 10 percent increase in sales tax revenue collected by the city. Thats money that can be used to hire new police officers, maintain our roads, enhance and expand the programs offered by the parks and recreation department and many other things that would improve our quality of life.
The key is that the new sales tax revenue is, in fact, new. By that I mean it must be from sales that would not have otherwise happened in our community, either by allowing community members to shop locally who would have gone somewhere else or by attracting people from other communities to do their shopping here. If the new sales tax revenue simply represents a transfer of sales from existing local businesses to the new stores, the city coffers will not see a net increase in revenues and local businesses will suffer.
While we should welcome our new neighbors like Costco, Kohls, Target and the others, we should not forget to support our old friends the local businesses which have been serving us and our communities for years and, in many cases, decades.
Locally-owned businesses are part of the fabric of our communities and play an important role. We must remember to support them as we welcome all the new stores into our area.

To contact a member of The Marysville Globe/Arlington Times editorial board Kris Passey, Scott Frank or Margi Hartnett e-mail forum@premier1.net.

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