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July 02, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, July 02, 2004

Guest Opinion Guest Opinion (July 02, 2004)

Shop locally and support your community

By Carol Olson and Ellis Berns

Mountain View is fortunate to have a wide range of unique and excellent businesses, but the economy over the past two years has been challenging for them.

We are writing to remind you that when you support local businesses, you are also supporting the community. When businesses struggle, we are all impacted.

During the past few years, sales tax revenues have declined over 45 percent from $24.1 million in 2000-01 to $13.2 million today. The hotel/motel tax has declined by $1.5 million annually.

This directly impacts the city's general fund, which supports the services we have grown to expect. During the past two years and going into the next, the city will have eliminated 60 positions, which significantly reduces its ability to maintain service levels.

Mountain View is an amazing place to live: we have parks and open space, safe streets, excellent police and fire services, hiking trails, a state of the art library, a world class theater, and a community center -- all supported by sales taxes. Spend an afternoon out at Shoreline Park, and you'll see what we are talking about. No other Peninsula city has an amenity where you can dine by the water, rent a boat, play golf, fly a kite, picnic, and hike the trails.

But all of this costs money. Many of these public amenities are paid for by the city's general fund, of which approximately 19 percent comes from sales tax generated by business.

In addition to providing a local tax base, Mountain View businesses bring jobs, philanthropic contributions, services, products, and tourism to the community. Their employees are our volunteers, families, consumers, renters and homeowners. Business owners have a stake in the success of our community, and we all have a stake in their success.

We know you have a choice about where you do business, so why not choose to shop and dine locally? By shopping and dining in Mountain View, you help our local economy to grow. You will enjoy excellent services, stores, hotels, and restaurants. In turn, you and your family will enjoy the many amenities provided by the city. It's a win-win situation.

If you are not sure where to shop or find services, call the Chamber of Commerce ( or the Downtown Central Business Association. Remember: Mountain View is a great place to live and work -- and shop.

Carol Olson is president/CEO of Chamber of Commerce Mountain View. Ellis Berns is economic development manager of the city of Mountain View.

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