Why shop in Oro Valley?
“Your community depends on it,” new bumper stickers, shopping bags, postcards and advertisements proclaim in the town of Oro Valley’s freshly launched Shop OV campaign.
Town government has committed $22,000 from its economic development marketing budget to the year-long Shop OV effort that started Nov. 19.
It has purchased 5,000 environmentally friendly black cloth shopping bags with the Shop OV logo emblazoned in gold type.
It has secured 1,000 magnetic bumper stickers with similar urgings.
Postcards carrying the message have been printed and mailed to 22,000 Oro Valley households. “Roads, Parks, Public safety, Your quality of life,” reads the postcard. “It all comes from keeping Oro Valley dollars in our community. This holiday season, show your support for local businesses and help maintain your quality of life in Oro Valley.”
“The objective of the Shop Oro Valley campaign is to, #1, support Oro Valley businesses and the local economy,” said Amanda Jacobs, economic development specialist for the town.
It is also intended to “decrease the sales tax leakage to nearby communities,” and increase Oro Valley’s sales tax revenues, which flow into the town’s general fund for distribution to public safety, parks and recreation, infrastructure, libraries and other services.
“Most importantly, we’re doing it to retain our existing businesses,” Jacobs said. “We’re looking at it as another business retention tool. We want to continue to see Oro Valley businesses succeed. And we want to see the sales tax dollars increase. Again, it benefits the community.”
“It’s exciting, and good for the town and the community,” Mayor Paul Loomis said. “It enhances our commercial and retail opportunities, and helps us to continue to diversify our revenue sources.”
Shop OV “really reminds local residents of the benefit of their tax dollars,” said finance director Stacey Lemos. Among those benefits, Lemos suggests, is the time- and gas-saving proximity of a strong commercial and retail sector in Oro Valley. “The closer they can stay and shop, the better it is overall for everyone,” she said.
The town is purchasing reduced-price advertising in The Explorer. “We’re trying to get the word out there through The Explorer,” Jacobs said. The Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce is aboard, too, sharing the story and distributing materials. Town, chamber and newspaper “are trying to help businesses, especially with the economy,” Jacobs said.
Participating businesses are receiving posters for their windows. They’ve been encouraged to “look out for the Shop OV bag,” Jacobs said
“A lot of folks couldn’t offer discounts,” she said. “It’s more of an educational campaign,” with the message that “sales tax money dollars support parks and recreation, infrastructure and public safety.”
Jacobs has assistance with Shop OV from economic development intern Michelle Tucker, a University of Arizona student seeking a master’s degree in public administration. “She’s done a lot of research,” and helped with distribution of bags and bumper stickers. “She’s been a huge help.”
People are noticing the effort, Jacobs continued. “A citizen saw the Shop OV bumper sticker and asked ‘where can I get one?’” she said.
They’re available at Oro Valley Town Hall, and at the chamber office.
Sales tax revenue for OV near $12M
Annual sales tax revenue amounts to about $12 million of Oro Valley’s $30 million general fund, according to town finance director Stacey Lemos.
The bulk of Oro Valley’s sales tax revenue – “probably $10 million, $11 million,” Lemos said – comes from the town’s optional 2 percent sales tax levy in the town.
“We depend on the sales tax significantly to help provide services to the citizens,” Lemos said. “The availability of that revenue is critical to the operations and sustainability of our local government.”
Arizona levies a 5.6 percent sales tax. Some of that is redistributed to town government on a population basis.
Pima County levies a .5 of 1 percent sales tax for the Regional Transportation Authority.
Some of that money returns to Oro Valley as funding for road and other transportation improvements and services.