City leaders in Ozark are encouraged by the number of shoppers hitting their local stores.
Sales taxes have been up for 7 out of the last 9 months now.
“Businesses that are owned by local people, those numbers are up, just in the general discussion that we have had with them they say their numbers are well up over this same time last year,” says Mayor Billy Blackwell.
Although some stores are recording record numbers, others say they haven't seen an increase at all.
Angie Gevara from Angelina Rose Floral Creations says she's hoping the future will bring more shoppers her way.
“It’s been steady. Our sales are not near as good as they were last year, I mean we do have a steady income but other than that, we do okay, we're hanging in there,” says Gevara.
But overall, business is up.
Sales tax collections are in for the first three months of the fiscal year and Ozark has already seen a $75,000 increase from those same months in 2009 and city leaders are sighing in relief.
“We're not sure that this is going to hold but we realistically think that we can predict a two to three percent increase,” says Blackwell, “That's wonderful, we're encouraged by that. All indications that we have for 2011 are very good so we're encouraged.”
These increasing numbers are coming in after the city had to cut 20 jobs and add service fees this budget cycle to break even.
“Those cuts that we made, we are not planning on replacing anything we took out. Those are permanent things because we had been using our reserve funds to balance our budget,” says Blackwell.
Any excess in collections this year would go to replenish the city's reserve fund which can currently only support two weeks of operating expenses.
The city would need a 4.7% increase over the entire year to reach the amount collected in 2008.