Six months after unveiling a three to five year Strategic Plan, the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce says they are ready to launch their first project mid-June. Chamber President Chip Hansen said one of their top priorities is to increase Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) receipts, because the Chamber’s members have repeatedly indicated that there is a need for more shop local education to ensure success for their businesses.
The Chamber’s plan states they will spur an increase in local option sales tax receipts by 20 percent in the next five years through strategic marketing. Executive Director Megan Roberts said the goals associated with the new priority include developing a local branding concept for general marketing of the community, updating the AtlanticIowa.com website and developing key relationships between partners for the campaign. Roberts said “The last time the Chamber took this on was in 2005-2006 with the +5 Grow Atlantic campaign, and it is again a piece of the plan for growing local sales.”
According to the Iowa Department of Revenue payment history records, receipts in Atlantic have nearly doubled since the tax was adopted in 2001. The previous +5 Campaign showed receipts were up nearly $100,000 during and after the campaign versus the more common $11,000-$20,000 annual increase in years prior.
Roberts stressed the importance of reinvesting in promotion to continue the trend. The City of Atlantic Community Promotion Commission currently receives 7 percent of the receipts to use for “external marketing.” Supported projects have included beautification efforts, holiday lighting and marketing, tourism marketing and events such as Little League, Coca-Cola Days & Museum and the Spring Garden Seminar that bring visitors to town.
Other than the Community Promotion Fund, LOST funds are allocated through a city resolution stating 25 percent to Recreation Center Fund, 40 percent to Capital Improvement Streets, 28 percent to Sales Tax Progress Fund including Industrial Development, Housing Development, Commercial Development, Sidewalks/Pathways and Bull Creek Storm Sewers.
Hansen said the increase in LOST receipts benefits many groups including local businesses.