Mar 06, 2008 Willie Kiernan Uncategorized
Think globally, shop locally
By Willie Kiernan
The Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce has announced a bold new initiative: Think globally, buy locally. It could be the foundation of a whole new wave of consciousness and a blueprint for survival in the future.
“Many of us take what the greater Cazenovia area has to offer for granted,” said Chamber Manager Rich Borsellino.
Consider the three points that many real estate agents use to “sell” Cazenovia: The lake, the schools and the downtown shopping area.
“What we have here is what we need to protect and green thinking will protect it,” said Dave Eldridge, chairman of the Historical Cazenovia Business District.
The idea is to shrink the carbon footprint left on the earth from generation to generation and to also keep the sales tax dollars within the county. By not using fuel to travel to far away stores or for other services, the environment benefits, the local economy benefits and the tax paying residents of the community benefit.
“The sales tax dollars that stay in Cazenovia are essential to the maintenance of our town and county tax,” Eldridge said. “If the sales tax dollars are spent in other counties they never return.”
According to Mayor Tom Dougherty, sales tax makes up 22 percent of the revenues of the village budget. Property taxes make up 46.5 of the revenues.
“If the sales tax revenues were to go down, then we would have to make up that number by increasing property tax or possibly reducing services some where else in the budget,” Dougherty said. “Conversely when the sales tax revenues goes up, we can (potentially) reduce property tax.”
For instance, instead of wasting gas to visit Raymour and Flanagan or Dunk and Bright, everyone in the county would benefit if that chair or sofa or wall decoration was purchased at Johnny Appleseed. Instead of traveling to Armory Square or even Erie Boulevard the community as a whole would be better off if that gift was purchased at Lavender Blue or Lillie Bean or Amanda’s or Mulligan’s.
“The reduced use of petrofuels and the atmospheric pollutants created by shopping locally adds real value,” Borsellino said.
Borsellino said that when he first moved to Cazenovia from the Bronx, his daughter asked if they had been here before, because it looked so familiar, so friendly. The Borsellinos embraced Caz immediately.
“Then there was a time when some of the storefronts were empty and it was sad,” Borsellino said. “That’s when I made a commitment to myself to support this community in whatever way I could. A healthy economic community translates into an increase in home values.”
Buying gas in Manlius, buying Kimberly’s ice cream in Manlius, even spending money at Cazenovia Jewelry in Manlius hurts this community. Those tax dollars don’t return.
Samuel Johnson once said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” The Chamber suggests that habits can and should be broken if that leads to environmental wellness as well as money in the pocket.
“Instead of going to another county, people should conserve energy and time by shopping here every chance they can,” Borsellino said.
With a fairly large initiative of their own, the supermarket in town has changed habits. P&C has made a commitment to Cazenovia that will benefit all of Madison County. Their expansion and fresh approach to the shopping experience has brought many Cazenovians back home for their food shopping. Those dollars not spent in Onondaga County, via the P&Cs in Manlius and Fayettville and the almighty Wegmans of Dewitt, are going to stay in Madison County and be distributed according to tax base. Because Cazenovia has high property taxes, this community will benefit greatly just for what P&C has done.
“Sales tax revenues are extremely important to our village residents, especially for our fixed income residents,” Dougherty said. “If sales tax revenues were to decline and property taxes were to increase, some of our fixed income residents may have to move out of the village. We should all try to spend locally to help make Cazenovia affordable for everyone.”
The bottom line is that shopping locally maintains Cazenovia’s diversity which adds vibrancy and value to this unique community as a means for survival in this chain-store, big-box economy of today.
“Our first thought when looking to buy goods and services should be, is it available locally?” Borsellino said. “Buying local will help insure that our business community remains healthy. A healthy business community contributes to our local real estate values, something many of us rely on for our personal financial health.”
According to the Chamber, the initiative is not a fad, the newest gimmick or a sales pitch. It is a way of life that benefits the community in more ways than just putting a dollar in the businessman’s pocket. It’s logical, it’s ethical, it’s reasonable and it may be necessary for the continuing existence of this treasured community.
“If you need goods and services, think of Cazenovia first,” Eldridge said. “Just think globally by shopping locally.”