economy slower but still going
By Blaze Bullock
March 27, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- A lot
of people have been affected by the slow economy. City
Recorder Dean Clegg said in an interview Thursday that
the city's economy has felt some of the effects of the
"Overall we're not suffering
like some small communities," said Clegg.
In some aspects, the local economy
is down but in others it's up compared to this same
period of time last year. "We're up on tax but down
on the license and permit side," Clegg said. "We haven't
even seen a fraction of the building permits as we have
in years past."
Clegg said that the reason the city
is doing better this year on tax revenues is because
the city raised its taxes on residents.
"We went with a tax increase
so they should be up," he said. Clegg also said that
tax revenues are up 14 percent from last year but that
the city raised its taxes by 14 percent as well. Business
licenses are down 6 percent from last year and building
permits are down a whopping 25 percent, he said.
The city won't be able to give its
employees any raises this year as a result of the economic
Local restaurant Firehouse Pizzeria
has also taken a hit, said Manager Tyler Cue.
"It has been really slow,"
said Cue. The restaurant has lost a great deal of business,
mostly during the dinner time, he said. Cue said that
on Friday and Saturday nights the restaurant has lost
about one third of its business but that during lunch
time business hasn't changed much.
Some businesses aren't struggling
quite so badly, however. Dave Saxton, owner of Near
New Cars, said he's been selling cars for about 25 years
and that last January was the best month he's ever had
in selling cars.
Saxton said that this month has been
slow for him but says sales are always up and down.
Saxton is also a real estate agent for Cornerstone and
said that sales in the real estate market in the city
are also down.
Despite slowdowns in real estate,
Saxton said he's still doing OK financially. "I would
say the economy has affected me some," he said. "It's
slower but we're not stopped." Saxton also said it is
more difficult to sell real estate right now.
Saxton believes the economy has slowed
largely because of the media and negative attitudes
by the government.
"The economy is a direct reflection
of people's attitudes," Saxton said, stating that people
are taking a much more conservative approach to buying
cars and houses. People won't buy a car or a house unless
it's a really good deal even if they have a lot of money,
Larry Astle of Cantwell Brothers
Lumber agreed with Saxton about the economy and people's
attitudes. Astle said that people making six figures
a year want to have a deck built by CBL but won't because
of things they've seen on television.
"These are people with money
but they 're just waiting and seeing," said Astle. He
also said the CBL's business has been affected but not
Cox, Saxton and Astle all said they
believe the city's economy has taken a hit but it's
not putting them out of business.