Clint Seibel, Hillsboro Development Corporation Director, used a 12-page glossy brochure hot off the press and an economic health slide show presentation to show City Council members Tuesday that Hillsboro is growing in many good ways.
Using graphs to detail capital investments, real estate appraisal values, Hillsboro sales tax revenues, population, and school enrollment, Seibel showed increases almost across the board, with only real estate values lagging behind last year’s figures.
“Even though the recession is over, there is a lag time in real estate,” Seibel said. “But if you look at our values over the past seven years we show a 12 percent increase, so we are not stagnant. We are still growing.”
The economic indicator showing the most exciting movement for the city in the past year was sales tax. Seibel presented numbers indicating sales tax was over $600,000, with all of the increase coming from the business sector.
“We are at an all-time high with sales tax,” Seibel said. “Our sales tax has just been cruising.”
Sales tax receipts for the city increased almost $50,000 from 2011 to 2012, showing a steady climb of more than $300,000 for the past seven years outlined in the report.
“Sales tax has always fascinated me,” Mayor Delores Dalke said. “It’s just phenomenal how it keeps increasing year after year. It proves we are going in the right direction.”
County Commissioner Roger Fleming, attending the meeting as a bystander, said the county saw a nice increase in sales tax the past year as well, due mostly to oil company purchases.
“What could an oil company purchase in Marion County that would raise sales tax that much?” council member Bob Watson asked.
Fleming said he did not know for sure but guessed it had something to do with oil sold and piping supplies purchased.
“A lot of credit for our increased sales tax amounts goes to people buying local, people coming into the community to buy, and businesses providing products that people will come buy,” said City Administrator Larry Paine.
Dalke said she was happy to see where Hillsboro was headed with sales tax but cautioned it was something to keep working at.
“If we get reports on what people want to buy, we need to share that information with our businesses,” she said. “It is still too easy to jump in the car and drive somewhere else.”
In other business:
- Paine brought up subdivision policy guidelines for council discussion, drawing from the minutes of the last council meeting the need to review and update tap fees.
- Council members approved 40 city employee job description updates presented by Paine, noting the need for accurate descriptions that hold people accountable.
- Council members heard that Seibel planned to mail 150 or more of the new Discover Hillsboro pamphlets to state and national legislators, as well as to other interested in what the city of Hillsboro has to offer.