Not buying it
The Village at Crystal River folks are promising $335,000 in new sales tax. Examination of their figures show some highly questionable assumptions.
For example, the proposal’s proponents assumes that the new fast-food restaurant will do $2.5 million in sales and that 20 percent of those sales will come from existing businesses. I’ve talked to several restaurant owners in town and not a one of them does even half that amount, including alcohol sales. At $10 a meal, the new place will have to sell 685 meals per day every day of the year. If 20 percent of those customers come from Dos Gringos, Fatbelly, Peppino’s, Pour House, etc., that means those existing businesses will lose 137 $10 meals per day. Can any of those establishments afford to lose even one-eighth of that?
They estimate the new grocery store will add an additional $5 million in sales, which assumes that every one of Carbondale’s 6,400 citizens will buy $784 more per year in groceries; that’s $1,560 more for a couple, $3,120 for a family of four. People from out of town will not come to Carbondale to buy groceries, and current Carbondale shoppers will not buy more groceries because of a “state of the art” store. Most of us are on a budget.
They project that the new gas station will do $800,000 in sales and that 20 percent of that will be from existing gas stations. Carbondale drivers would have to buy 160,000 more gallons of gas (at $4 per gallon) than they do now. That’s 25 extra gallons of gas every year for every resident in Carbondale, including those who don’t drive – even though we’re not leaving town to buy groceries! And it’s $160,000 in gasoline sales taken away from existing service stations.
Also, the public improvement-fee payoff time is based on these unrealistic sales figures, so it is a reasonable bet that we will be paying 1 percent more for our groceries for much longer than the developer’s estimate of 20-25 years.
The developer needs to sell his project to the public so he can make a profit, and he’s using inflated numbers to do it. If you plan on voting “yes” on Village at Crystal River because you’re tempted by the additional sales tax revenue, get ready to be disappointed. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.
Shelle de Beque
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