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Course of the next hour talking about.
Total local view of our national economy the -- of these states a lot of them aren't in a lot of trouble and and and we've heard that document another question is when he did you write it themselves out.
Looking forward because we know that local governments often see the ripple effect a little bit later than everyone else dozens and now we -- think corporations and the national government trying to move ahead with the local governments are still sort of stuck in Iraq.
And there and we're talking today about strategies and tactics and and waits at -- nationals in the cities all across the nation are are chugging and plugging.
Absolutely -- -- -- a -- way of putting at the Federal Reserve just released a survey showing signs of stabilization in eleven of its twelve regions might be just an indication the recession is turning around so we're gonna have a roundtable of a number of mayors from several cities weighing in on how they're dealing with things also -- could share our good friend from strategic resource group is gonna come and talk about how the retail market in -- cities worked.
Kind of an indicator of recovery in many ways that we start with Christopher Haiti today.
Who is the director of the National League of Cities Christopher joins us from Seattle good to have you on the program to start off this discussion -- he gives is an overview.
Of how things are looking we know there's been struggles and many cities around the country because of the economic downturn.
Things started to get turned around -- not yet.
Not yet I think we're still a year or two away from seeing the turnaround -- -- As as you said earlier there's usually one or two year lag between when full affects the economy are felt in cities and we've got a little ways to go yet.
So what are what are some -- -- taxes that -- tactics that you are seeing that cities are playing to get over that -- meanwhile.
We're seeing recovery in a lot of parts in the nation we don't see an end clearance for two or three years that does not help.
The picture here you're not gonna see revenues are intake.
Go any higher for the first sixteen municipalities.
So what are they doing in the meantime because they that I and they -- and keep providing services right.
Right and then there aren't really any -- bullets here you either have to raise revenues or cut spending or some combination of it.
Of those tactics and so what we're seeing so far is that cities are cutting spending mainly through personnel related cuts layoffs and hiring freezes.
Things like that and they're also delaying and canceling some of their larger infrastructure projects which are multi year large investments.
So that's the spending side so far.
On the revenue side -- doing their best to recognize that local residents -- in the -- in camp whether it tax increases so we're seeing an increase in.
Fees for services where you pay as you go essentially for the service -- use.
Noticing some high profile cases like California -- got a lot of attention terms of their local struggles but some others that haven't been.
As in the news and in -- states aren't our cities are created equally.
Numbers in no way showing expenditure growth of four point 9%.
Revenue growth 3.4 percent of the expenditures higher than the revenues to projections certainly don't look positive going it this year maybe even next.
However are there any examples that you could think up.
Cities that are doing a good job of dealing with a bad situation playing -- -- they've been dealt and digging themselves out of it.
Well I think that a lot of this have to do with fiscal management and and -- the places that you see that are doing well are.
Cities around the country that saw the crisis coming made some very conservative estimates about where their revenues and spending would be coming into this recession.
And so they've been very well positioned to weather the storm.
A lot of this actually has to do with how far out -- -- so for example one city.
That's been hit very hard as Philadelphia and but but they've been able to deal with that a little more effectively because stateside coming in -- budget for five year periods and so they were able to look out and make some tough choices early.
And it hasn't -- Philadelphia who what are some of the other cities and what do they do claiming that I've been reading that some of these cities are charging additional fees to collect your garbage to US have a normal routine.
Services that we all get an X-Factor free out of the government exactly you're seeing is a trend going on -- many -- Success stories he can point him.
-- the -- story is really something that is pretty universal across the country cities are turning to fees for services to provide.
Those services it's something that tends to be more palatable for local residents because they understand that they're paying.
The for an amount of the service and they also tend to see that the cities may be struggling and -- noticed these might have built up a little bit.
But it -- more palatable as a response from the city than say -- general tax increase of some kind whether residents might not understand what the money goes for necessarily.
And many see your garbage pileup on your I mean it's good to have an increasing willingness to hate it that's very that's probably true this renegade yeah right you -- get it out of the way no doubt about it you know Chris through -- -- -- Kind of the broad economic impact of all this being something that.
This is a threat to us what we go into next year people start talking not always the economy and Ed's always the national economy we -- the economy that we're talking about them.
In fact there's a lot of local economies that are either Warsaw for better off in the national economy as a whole and we live in our local areas do you think that the this state of the city's.
And -- threatens the national economy and and the idea of this double dip recession -- were thrown out.
Yeah that's the concern we.
-- the national League City -- city governments around the country is that in the middle of what will likely be a slow recovery by most economists experts.
Opinions -- -- what will happen in the cities is that.
Will be making cuts right at a time in the economy is trying to grow and so that spending side that government spending side will be going down.
And won't be as much of the stimulus is -- might otherwise have been.
This seems likely doom and gloom situation to me a little bit and -- Christopher aren't.
Isn't as bad as we think that it's going to be and is -- going to be as bad as what we've seen an -- -- parts of our economy.
It it is a bit doom and gloom in part that's because it tends to take a year or two for economic.
-- that play out in local governments so they're still.
They still have some down turn here to see and -- in terms of their own decisions.
But it may not be as bad as everybody thinks in the sense that.
It's during periods like this when leadership tends to matter most and we have some fairly effective leaders in these cities around the country who are.
Making the tough choices early about where some of these cuts occur which.
Should allow them to then make some choices about investments sooner than -- sooner than they might otherwise you wanna make in the next year's.
Have you learned anything from watching the places where they do you cut those who is looking at.
You know yeah because there's a lot of options about in terms of the services that you wanna cut or do you wanna raise local taxes to try to bring -- next.
Extra revenue and which is difficult draw on not to do during an economic downturn is really -- Dallas in LA and Chicago -- cut their public safety for example.
To -- try to prevent the budget problem say in the future.
What would've been the best ideas what's worked best so far terms of the cutbacks.
Well what seems to be working best is it is actually.
I sort of a tiered approach seed Tennessee cities go through first trying to cut services that they might deem as.
Say less essential in public safety public safety tends to be seen -- obviously a very -- service to try and protect.
But if the -- deep enough of the downturn -- enough.
Eventually have to turn to weather major costs and expenditures are those tend to be an employee and personnel related Arenas and and public safety so.
In places like Chicago and Dallas and Los Angeles where that where the budget gaps they're facing a large.
That's why you've seen the trend of public safety if it's indicative of just how deep the downturn has been so far.
Christopher how are.
-- the local governments how are they seeing their hands tied in ways that made the other entities and -- are having their hands tied for example in laying off workforce and you're dealing with.
You -- is and other complexities that made things harder to accomplished.
So as a result is this problem you know gonna play itself out in a way that is.
Probably not as straightforward as we would like if you're company could come out there and just -- and fire people.
Do local governments have that option or are they going another route.
Well I think you've hit upon -- exactly their hands are tied in the sense that.
They can't simply just make a decision to cut back you know there -- workforce and the services that they provide by some dramatic margin.
Not because it's not as if there -- providing something optional right there there providing public safety road street lighting.
You know various things that the public.
Needs to consume.
And so they have to maintain certain levels and so certain level that's just isn't isn't possible.
And that brings in many other constraint which is they're required under most state lives.
To balance their budgets and so they can't carry deficits forward.
They -- they can't necessarily.
-- deficit into some sort of debt spending that might play out over years and years to come -- They they pretty much have to deal with whatever these gaps are in the current fiscal year that there and.
Yeah that's a big difference just by -- -- -- this that they don't have the same advantages are that the in the ability to deal with that the way the federal government does but.
You know the federal government does have that ability is it -- -- enough I'm sure you're gonna say no because you're representing the interest -- cities that is the federal government doing enough in itself if not what more needs to be done to help these cities.
Well the first thing I'd say is actually there there's an upside here in terms of the stimulus package of the federal government passed and that perhaps the worst here that cities will be facing -- the next fiscal year 2010.
And that's when the large pool of funds in the recovery package actually come out to city governments and so the timing there could be -- It won't be it won't solve every solution it won't be a silver bullet in this regard but it will probably provide some help.
And that goes to the other point you -- here which is the federal government could do more they're certainly investments.
That the federal government could make in state and local governments.
That would keep spending and by those governments -- service levels higher and probably help forestall some in a larger impact on the economy of reduced state and local spending.
This is -- a little bit of a better spot.
Well -- would hope it gets better as opposed to getting worse Christopher thank you very much for coming on.
From Seattle today my pleasure Christopher -- national football league of cities directors that he did a nice job setting -- up for the -- we're gonna have for the rest of the hour which is.
There's definitely more of an of a personal one what some people that are trying to manage their way out of this because that's what as you said at the top of the combined with the key is is not.
-- we know things are -- and what do you do about it what are the creative night.
You can go local governments or their hands are tied in ways that Christopher mentioned leadership matters as things at that these governments -- local dot governments are doing.
And we want to know what they're doing because it affects all that's.
-- -- -- and we have the mayors coming up in Kansas City and Fargo, North Dakota this is a different ideas here on.
On how those cities are dealing with the economy how they're seeing a turnaround or if they're -- turnarounds to stay with us.
Not really looking forward to getting some mayors on the program to talk about the the state of the states in the -- dying cities to some degree hopefully.
Rebounding city said mayor mark -- -- -- joins us Kansas City.
And mayor Dennis walker joins us Fargo, North Dakota.
Mayor -- -- really intense city first of all give us an idea how things are gone there.
Well where you in last year's budget we had a huge shortfall in seven million we may go up the shortfall -- it.
-- -- 10% cut our workforce which is probably the first actual lay off so people locked -- percent and twenty some years with the with the government here.
We -- deep cuts to police and fire and deferred we've deferred a lot of management's -- -- we've.
Restructured employee benefits and cut benefits in some -- Now we.
We're here because as was said by the previous polls we've had to pick up the shortfall -- -- -- -- right now.
OK she'd done that to get a balance your budget so that's a tough cuts -- had to be made.
You'll never walk out there in Fargo, North Dakota whether recent gonna have you guys on.
Is because North Dakota traditionally has the lowest -- one of the lowest unemployment rates -- country and and -- kind of is is right along the same line so there's something being done right there or maybe it's just luck of the draw so to speak in terms of geography tell us about.
The we never -- their highs of of the process dealing with from booms we don't really realize the bottoms of the recessions.
Are people are very conservative.
We did not get involved in the sub prime more mortgages and so forth across the nation.
So we don't have that.
Problem right now basically are tax structure is still saying we did we just finished our our I finished my fourth budget.
And it was probably the most difficult but we do not have to lay anybody off.
There is no -- others don't -- -- living increase in this budget and so forth.
I sympathize with everybody that's got a much worse than we do because.
When you do all of that.
It's hard to come back.
It takes a long time to recover.
And so far it's been -- -- things there are pretty good are companies that have international ties.
Like bobcats and that sell overseas.
They are having some real serious problems they've had some cutbacks.
And it is not all roses here but.
We have a big significant process what Microsoft here and there's been some small layoffs -- there so forth.
But we're still -- that roughly 4% as far as our.
Unemployment is concerned.
And this budget should be final in my next couple weeks and then we'll go from there.
-- the Miramar and her conservative people know -- want to thank.
And analog let me just interrupt you another thing that just jumped out the page and now what you're doing in your city as well as that we side north kick in North Dakota as a whole.
As -- state had a one billion dollar surplus.
And that is not a word that we -- too often and in this environment talked US about that and what is it that we can all learn from this surplus.
This is surplus a surprise that you guys have then -- a little against it to conduct point was it a luck of the -- -- -- what.
Things were you doing right.
Well the whole thing is being conservative -- solely being very conservative.
Even what that billion dollar.
Windfall and so forth -- because of some good people doing some good things.
We are an energy state we produce a lot of oil we produce a lot of electricity through coal fired generating plants and so forth -- entire cultural state.
The prices were extremely good couple years ago.
And that crops this year are are fantastic the prices are down.
But the whole thing is if if I was going -- put this in some kind of a nutshell.
We did not get consumed by the U.
That some -- some prime.
Mortgages and so all of our banks stayed very stable.
And -- -- those people for that foresight to be very conservative and.
And that is again that is a rarity to lend money to people without any assets that is a rarity that foresight in any condition by residents -- -- -- fun house I'd like to ask you you know.
Eight in Fargo they have a lot of different industries that are helping to spur local growth there energy is one of -- not something that you're seeing as well.
What meat industries that you're seeing on the ground that that I'm going to spark.
The growth spark that recovering in your area.
Well one other companies that we're talking a lot about the last several of those who -- -- our -- good medical technology company worldwide.
Homegrown based here in Kansas City.
And -- sector of the economy and who's -- and they're gonna have employees and grow dramatically.
Another local company here in default scenario that has a lot of employees is our -- Do -- us and that's -- the stuff and then they're gonna do well.
Those -- -- -- institutions.
In Kansas City are couple of -- great -- actually did not observe advance.
And commerce bank and they have both been -- -- very sound in all this I talked to one of the bankers from one of those banks.
When things were really going south and -- are your daughters sure are doing great we've been prepared for a hundred years for this.
It's film -- so there aren't -- Well that's good I guess a lot of -- -- Their focus on ask you one more notably in Iraq Becker at a Salt Lake City to join us in just one minute but verify accounts -- you brought up a good point there -- the started it.
About the company you do you cerner is an example OK so we're obviously this fall having this big debate over health care in this country and one of the things people talk about his.
Using more technology going forward from here.
Have you talked to people in your city.
That are completely changing gears in their life in terms of careers and taking advantage of new industries that are coming on board.
And you know -- growth in one industry vs a place they had work that is kind of getting out of favor to some extent -- see a lot of change for individual people.
That they're kind of change that -- -- for individual people here's the growth of entrepreneurship.
This -- people who -- you know do that got laid off were bought out to from a big corporation.
Am very good to go a little a couple of their friends and -- launch a business.
I'm told that that's sort of that sort of thing happens often -- -- sessions and we see it happening here.
And we're trying to structure the way that we do economic development incentives and so -- we've got a program that we're gonna launch -- new tools.
Which is specifically designed.
This further kind of homegrown -- commercial potential of going out there and smoke structures are you trying to recruit company we're trying to sort of grow our own.
Right from in there that makes a lot of sense there in Kansas City let's bring in Ralph Becker mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City he would -- being you've had a chance hopefully -- -- to listen to a least a few minutes mark conversation -- the mayors of Kansas City and Fargo.
About this the state of our our our cities what would you add to it from your perspective out there in Salt Lake.
Well first off I think we've been very fortunate here in Salt Lake that we've had some development that started before.
This crisis hit and has continued really unabated.
So that certainly has made a difference I think in the whole psyche of the city.
Certainly we've had individuals who have been harmed and we're doing everything we can to help those folks.
-- -- as was mentioned by mayor Tom -- we're seeing a lot more entrepreneurship we've had 23 new businesses open up in downtown Salt Lake just in the last.
In the last 23 months.
And we're seeing I think is well.
I think the benefits of a very diversified economy.
Great research university here.
And I think the attitude here is one of real optimism and that has.
Persisted I think except for a fairly short period of time when everyone was just reeling from what's happening nationally.
May have somehow there was talking about to some of the creative things that they're doing to spark -- to the new ownership.
I'm -- -- you talked about the new companies that are coming into downtown Salt Lake what are some of the other things that thinking outside the box.
Prime -- -- you guys and installed and that we can we can all take home Canadian -- in our own cities.
Now that I mean one of things is we've had a focus on local businesses and we are.
We've been adjusting our local business assistance revolving loan funds -- City assistance.
And -- and rattles and those sort of things for downtown -- I think the other thing now is not to lose sight of the positive things that are going on we've got a superb quality of life here.
And people appreciate that I think more and more every day in terms of what we can opt for both our residents and for people are looking for where locate businesses.
And then we've we've been very target is I think we've heard the other mayors say -- -- you know we we've we've really have work to look at businesses.
That we we can fit well whether it's because of university researcher -- worked much more closely with our university in recent months and years.
So it's a whole combination of things it's it really is I think.
Trying to maintain.
What we've seen happening here and our unemployment rates about half of what we see and other western city which is good news -- a lot of ways are we have three mayors with us Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City mark -- -- -- Kansas City, Missouri.
And Dennis while under Fargo, North Dakota and all three are gonna stay with the -- we're gonna take a quick break continue with that.
And this special coverage to states.
Of our State's America's dying and hopefully recovering cities to stay with us.
We are back with our mayors roundtable with us today we have Kansas City mayor mayor -- -- -- mayor.
Dennis -- -- at Fargo.
North Dakota and Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker thanks -- for joining us again.
This is a really riveting conversation we're talking about gauging the temperature of what's happening in cities all across the nation and frankly how they're being creative about challenging taking on the challenges that lie ahead.
-- wallet I -- -- again come back to you you have a number of industries he would call them.
High growth of high importance to the government the government is putting money into things like wind power energy source says.
How how is you are -- local area been able to benefit from some of the national government interest in these areas.
Do you know -- we'll talk about two things number one is the Renaissance zone which is our -- renovation of our downtown.
That's going fantastically it hasn't.
Lost one mile.
One minute of opportunity continue to improve our downtown -- what used to be when I was a child.
A number -- the stimulus package.
Create an awful lot of employment on -- we're completing projects that we're going to be free for years.
Into the future.
Improving our infrastructure and so forth all those are very important but like one of the mayors said it.
The whole process is not a simple one bullet.
It's a process of trying to assist people that want to invest in your community.
And then the same way with the university -- -- fortunate we have for universities here.
In this general area and all of those are -- doing research and trying to provide jobs.
So -- a very personal aspect is very simple fifteen years ago.
You most of our people were educated here left.
And that's not the case anymore we're providing opportunities or asking many of these employees come back.
So as far as our unemployment rate right now it's pretty good.
Is there not any problems out there yes there's problems out there but right now we are not.
Doing the negative things that are happening in some of these other communities via Merrill if we had to cut our public safety are our staff and it would be very difficult right the comeback.
Over a short period of time.
That makes sense there -- -- there at the outset of his remarks.
Gentlemen the -- the idea of the stimulus package and I wanted to talk to.
Yet you mayor verify -- -- mayor Becker go to you first clear -- -- from Kansas City, Missouri about the idea of the relationship between the states and the cities.
And the federal government there's been some criticism of the federal stimulus package saying the money's not getting out there as quickly as it needs to have you seen an impact to your local community.
From federal money coming in helping out.
Yes for me I would say we definitely should remember -- we offset song.
All of the big cuts that we had to make or -- department with federal stimulus money and we were successful in securing a competitive grant would allow -- to -- about 23 awfully we otherwise would have to lay off.
So we've been and we've been unsuccessful in getting us in this moment for housing we -- about seventeen million dollars for -- things.
-- opponents -- -- million dollars for general infrastructure.
We definitely -- agreement impact zone which -- -- a 150 blocks.
Of Kansas City.
Are just -- still bump woman -- -- 55% unemployment but congressman Emanuel Cleaver was able to capture the Obama administration's.
Imagination with this idea of an environmental.
Impact and we're being able to funnel additional dollars and of that zone so.
All overall strategy and this is to spend the money in such a word.
To get more density.
To get people living in the urban core one of those.
Cities that has emptied out consumers -- urban core group of -- of but don't.
Right and you have to be efficient and effective -- police services and infrastructure we need to be more dense.
And are sort of overall strategist and -- street.
OK and you're using some the federal money to do that I -- dishing to find out we we do the stories and then we wonder mayor Becker where the money goes after that do we report on the federal stimulus to know if it's working or not have -- out there and Salt -- you see any impact from.
Yet has been very positive impact in fact it's been very positive impact on the stage and part of the reason I think it's been beneficial in some cities because our goals and objectives have -- very well what what we've seen in the stimulus package and the emphasis on renewable energy energy efficiency.
Transportation improvements as the other mayors commented.
To living well and urban environment.
And so we've been able to match up in the whole variety of areas -- that have been mentioned.
With the stimulus package where transportation.
We're building seventy miles of route right now and we've been able to.
Keep that pace going in terms of improvements that help not only today and create some jobs are miners -- construction where they're needed.
But it really we believe it's gonna sustain us and move us -- longer term.
You know gentlemen before you came on we had a guest Christopher Haney he's with the National League cities director is giving us sort of setting up the stage.
Four -- what the nation is feeling really on city by city basis.
But he -- interesting comments saying that leadership really matters and then in this environment communication.
What do you all viewing as the spokes people the leaders of your towns.
And how do you changing your leadership's style and struck sure navy -- To deal with what's happening right now are you on the phone with different groups of people are you managing your teens differently when I start with you and your -- -- Well one of the things that we have paid a lot of attention to resort citizen servers are -- -- scores and that sort of thing.
And in November of oh wait those scores took a big guard down there have been going down steadily and they went down a -- I was completely disappointed.
And people said how in the world can you improve -- those citizens have rational when you're cutting services and we.
Changed our focus -- in January of of focus on a city that works and started paying attention where we could spend a small amount of money.
And get a significant impact.
And in the most recent survey that come out we had increases in 47 different areas.
And it actually really came out of that looking pretty good one of the things like you're telling people it's it's not that we don't have any money.
We're going to spend one point two billion dollars but -- -- Smart.
-- library he's looking at the high in different ways focusing on race he can make a difference so what about you.
Well one example is we had a significant event here in in March a big flood.
And shortly thereafter.
We half the community.
To participate -- a half -- Sales tax increase for -- -- years.
It passed by 90%.
The thing that people demand today as they want to know where the money's going what's it going to be used for.
And they need to have some transparency in government we have always maintain trying to be as open as we possibly -- which is possibly as -- -- With the general population we just have to be that way we have to be very honest.
We televise everything you know -- just a small thing.
And so forth but we were successful.
In march of 2009.
So that what's that was a huge success I was concerned about the election.
It passed by 90% who.
I mean that's unbelievable.
That big margin and we continue that whole process as far as their Renaissance all -- and so forth so.
Things are are good for the most part here we have not had to cut any services.
And we hope to continue that I see some improvements in the economy right as I drive to Minneapolis there's more trucks on the highway there's.
Process -- I see I'm optimistic about the future right and ultimately we don't have to continue this cutting process.
For a long period of time fair enough let's get mayor Becker to weigh in on this real quick before we wrap it up -- you guys and how you're -- dollar.
-- change that you made because of this.
Well I'm not sure there's been a change certainly has been a change -- us focusing on how we tighten our belts in a way where we share as a whole community but it is still the same thing it is is having a vision.
It's being pretty specific and being open and transparent -- our community.
It's and it's by building partnerships with the chamber of commerce with our nonprofits.
But we can't do things on and city government and and what we -- to do in our city means everybody working together and that's been a focus I think from the beginning.
I think because everyone's feeling a bit of -- -- Thank you very much an area that Becker -- Hauser and locker wishing you continued success and certainly will models -- many city -- out there will be following chart thanks guys appreciate all of you joining us today -- -- we're gonna take you to.
A place in main town in Maine that not very Longo would have been considered to be a dying city but now it's thriving why is that happening here to find out -- -- Targets -- -- just special coverage here in the state of the state state of the cities around the country here's -- try to bounce back from the economic difficulties of last year shown by telephone Paul but -- joins us.
He's -- marketing a director at the Lewiston Auburn economic growth cancel.
That's in Lewiston Maine which as I said a moment ago people in here it could have been considered a dying city not that long ago.
That's remade itself into a thriving city and up Paul you know I'll let you pick up the story from there what's happened.
Well probably about 1520 years ago.
We were really considered.
More -- -- one horse town in that manufacturing.
Shoes and textiles.
We're pretty much the only industry that were flourishing.
And so when the country when -- any kind of recession or or even a -- We'd be impacted significantly.
Over the course of about ten years and just.
Fifteen years really and -- particularly true the last five.
Our local economy is really diversified.
For example some of the industry's particularly strong in this area include health care.
Which is relatively recession proof.
Transportation distribution and logistics is very strong here financial services.
We've grown some retail.
So what's really been our saving grace.
You know among some other reasons is really the diversification of our economy.
Regis you -- you do have some challenges that are very specific to your geography you have high energy costs costly housing.
And -- -- limited population that debt that requires a lot of X it infrastructure to get here and there from.
So how do you balance the opportunities that are popping up in these high growth areas with -- higher cost basis that you have just it sort of me.
Citizen of name.
Well we we certainly do have our our challenges that's for sure.
This region has -- well not only because of the industries that we focused on.
But because all of the amenities that we do have first of all we don't have that congestion of some of the larger cities.
Even -- the rest of New England for example.
Again quality of life for example low crime.
You know given that this is the anniversary of 9/11 that that's not -- significant.
And the and we also have.
You know I think what has made -- overall succeed.
In many ways is.
Sort of that pioneering spirit.
Think of what they think of name.
We knew that we actually truly.
Well fluid and -- We have they -- workforce.
That tends to be very loyal very hard working.
-- we we get things done.
He anecdotally you know we have one of one of the largest project because -- over the last several years has been.
They -- large Wal-Mart distribution center.
Nearly eight million square foot distribution center that services super wal mart's throughout the -- -- can't win the site search was done.
From -- could -- could not believe.
Our workforce was they interviewed local H folks and Department of Labor folks.
And they simply couldn't believe that.
You know a community like guys particularly one that that that was heavily in the manufacturing in the past.
For example didn't have unions you know was not was not a heavily -- And couldn't believe the loyalty of you know they they look at some of those stats.
Well some of our large manufacturers and you know people people mightily.
Had six days.
-- -- stay on the job for 1520 years and they found it astounding and and ultimately be chosen location that was one of several reasons they did.
People lived in your city just just for reference.
I'm yet and I should clarify that that I represent an agency.
With -- city that this will we called Twin Cities here a lot of twenty to -- the country right.
It's Lewiston and Auburn combined is about 60000.
Assisted thousands and the two -- them OK you -- -- up Paul thank you very much its shares destroyed and maybe give us some perspective or going through now.
And a lot of towns and cities and states across the country so thanks for joining us.
Call but no there and Lewiston Auburn economic growth council so that's -- you're talking about a role we are all talking about this kind of creative.
Look at something speaking of which this next guest.
Very very has -- very creative in terms of how they've.
-- how they've used things.
The downturn to take advantage -- try to propel people or.
Incentivize people to spend locally.
We're talking about using local currencies to help local economies to go to Albany, New York -- welcome -- hernia and she's the office manager -- shares.
Now -- shares Sarah from what I understand and this is in the -- -- Which is very close to Albany of course and then it -- it in Massachusetts.
You're using essentially.
Your own currency making currency.
Pretty money and then held that having people spend it locally is that is that basically the summing up tells about.
That's cracked precarious is that citizen based tool.
For the community to really stimulate the local economy.
Individuals can take federal dollars into any participating banks and exchange them for -- -- -- expands to the per share.
Then out on main street they are spent at face value so that individuals get up 5% incentive.
And then businesses and turned and looked -- other merchants where their business needs accounting advertising.
-- -- -- -- -- What's the attraction have you gotten -- with the local merchants in accepting these -- -- -- it frankly seemed a little bit complicated if you -- -- A business owner instead of taking real dollar -- you take these Berkshire guy I think you probably got -- a bank -- did indeed cast.
Are you seeing people actually -- -- that's.
We are and it it -- habit changing -- -- sad so it it requires.
Persist and educational campaign has been necessary.
Ninety businesses that sign up at the beginning of -- program three years ago.
And we now have close to 400 so with education outreach and enthusiasm from the team -- we've really been able to build the program substantially.
OK -- -- local businesses are gonna like something like this because the incentive is set for the people to spend their money there you can only spend all the money locally that's the whole point.
What's the incentive for me if I'm a resident.
To use this program you know economically how would you just explain it to me so I so I understand it right.
So from that consumer perspective I'm at the point of exchange of -- any of the banks you're getting up 5% increase in your buying power.
So what was 95 federal dollars becomes a hundred Merck shares.
What you can and spend on any merchandise or service that would have cost you a hundred dollars that enough of management and we're seeing a lot of participation.
And thank is that it has that proved to be enough of an incentive that's enough to get people to go through -- says that.
You know kind of the hassle of doing this transaction costs there is a transaction content I'm sure it.
Sure and what we're seeing at more or less about 10% of the population is actively participating in the program.
And what's more important we we see in terms of educating our round the importance of local buying and simulating a local economy isn't that just about everyone in the community knows what -- are at this point and I.
-- half of whom have had.
Important and new conversations.
About the importance of community economics of supporting mainstay businesses getting off the Internet.
-- your local needs with local production in local goods one -- Do you -- is still carrying US dollars it you did the living off could be Burke -- isn't supposed.
It's going to be replaced thinking that aren't substantive -- into or compliments you it.
Compliment is that right -- local currencies are also often referred to as complementary currencies today function.
On the local level the way that the national currency the federal dollars that you kind of cool story and we've seen about two point.
Thanks -- -- -- -- about 2.4 million Berkshire's circulate through the community since the beginning of the program and there's currently at present about a 150000.
-- OK 150000.
Circulating eliminate what it queens that you get in your pocket a dog what -- -- I just -- to have a -- to go what they look like I mean you guys find some local -- -- the states on -- what's the deal with that.
What we've acts.
What we've actually done is that didn't hold the -- -- here.
This is our five Berkshire now and we featured local heroes and each felt so this is WE need a boy is that famous leader of the civil rights we have moved back.
Run and we also have a local artists who have contributed and on the back of -- -- will five spot.
Right there like you know it's funny yeah and thanks -- for joining us actually worked in the in the -- -- for one year in Pittsfield Massachusetts.
Has my back in my days of Minor League Baseball announcer.
And the funny part about that job was -- to pay.
Is that an internship at -- time pre K okay not great friendship and how they don't have to take it does but it won't forget about the same trailer to get anything kind of put a dollar Melissa -- there.
Anyway but it's a beautiful place place in the country thank hysterically -- it really interesting.
Thanks to finance our -- from that.
See you as we continue -- a look at that state of our cities and -- of the states around the country to how retail.
It's playing a role in reviving America's cities retail consultant -- -- -- coming up next.
-- let's look at the -- cities here in the United States America's we've been doing all our along here.
From a retail perspective first -- -- retail consult managing director strategic resource group joins us.
For that because there's been a lot of that we could -- the struggles in -- the opportunities I guess but boys have been tough out there locally.
For a lot of different cities and the great thing about having you on birds and no -- talk so much you travel a lot -- a lot of places check out.
You're you're consulting business how individual retailers are doing what kind of trends -- noticing.
We're noticing as you referenced Connell both.
Locally -- long distance just came from the Goldman Sachs global CEO conference and the irony is.
The food and drug retailers say that.
People can't even afford enough for essentials so for food they're buying -- lower price by more private label and buying last.
Same with pharmacy even when they get a prescription fill for not taking the full prescription can and dynamite to -- CEO of Wal-Mart said.
Traffic's up say sales are down.
So but they.
Did she -- great point on leadership and you're you're terrific team discussion with Sarah -- there are a lot of great leaders has she said the leadership's key.
From the government side and great leadership in terms of entrepreneur orders and we are seeing some really bright lights and in the retail business as a result.
What are the highlights -- you've been on the ground you're traveling around probably staying in some small in big -- things and but small in big hotels as well.
-- the bright spots and ended a lineup with the where the government says in all of these economic reports that.
Are also seeing them -- camp.
Some of the bright spots we're seeing -- the consumable side we're seeing.
Whether it's Cornell University are under a lot of the other universities are the students are creating their own flavors of milk shakes and ice cream and things like that that are being sold commercially.
What's -- turns doing is.
Hi in Lewiston Auburn for every Wal-Mart and -- you're gonna have a source close so in in in neighboring areas so it's a zero sum game.
But in -- shares it creates so much consumer continuity and loyalties in Cal's point great part of the country.
And it protects the local merchants from the Wal-Mart super center tsunami so Wal-Mart does well.
But the local store survived at the same time and it.
We look at Detroit in buffalo Niagara Falls regions to -- worst areas in the country sure both in terms of up political leadership.
In in terms of economic fallout but at the same time you have someone like Michael Margolis a new buffalo graphics.
Who uses a symbol of buffalo and everything from cards to T shirts.
To new baby and infant Wear.
Record sales every single year between him and his family -- shipping the product internationally.
It's a guy you do have the entrepreneurial.
Success stories -- Cornell on the not to partnership program there working.
Locally nationally and internationally with.
Swimsuit designers like Milan mills whose product was on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue three -- for five years and it and -- Really helping entrepreneur awards who who may be getting beat on their payables by the big department stores.
Develop their own set of -- right.
-- mom and pop local in nature -- And -- -- but there's also advantages for us for some of the big companies you would think to step in.
And take advantage of the recovery once it comes up for Jimmy talked about Detroit and anybody who it's been Detroit over the last few years and the difference model stories on an office that you just brutal and really -- sad.
What's happened that city and it's not just in the last year to as the auto companies have gone under but really.
For a long time it's been on a down -- -- really really tough.
He's not the city that doesn't have by the way have supermarket national chains and what have you Detroit million.
-- what what's gonna happen there assisted the city recovers -- tries to -- -- -- completely correct Connell.
If they've had guy.
Crime and corruption.
When that when they need Robocop on Peter Weller product card to come and -- I don't know what movie doesn't happen.
-- No one -- committed to your point there isn't a single supermarket within the city limits whether it's that you are chain or anything else nobody'll step in and -- this up because there's any restriction against this is nobody feels that's a good business proposition that demands there but fit the crime tired and in that then then they -- Then that demand.
There's there's there's no no profit for an operator take that -- risk and enemies and means is this.
-- -- a major American -- -- also of all of these government cuts that we're starting a -- pullback in services is that you have to have a basic level.
A public services that are out there so we don't start to -- asked for and crying and you know unsafe.
Behaviors and then act puts a crimp on businesses as well right you're not gonna -- -- congress if you're dealing with these problems of is that.
Very fine balance -- data keeping Japanese spend a little bit more than you would like to at a price well not balancing a budget.
But as a result you can have people coming in -- in bring in business and.
Break Richard Bonnie you're you're you're writing in terms of that and it gets back -- -- point about leadership.
In Detroit with Wayne State University University of Michigan Michigan State if some of the best universities in the country buffalo buffalo does too between.
Cornell extension university of buffalo.
They could establish the Biotech corn or switch the universities are willing to do present scored at Cornell wants to do -- his counterpart.
UB wants to do it counterpart and MIT.
Willing to do it.
But the leadership.
Is it is so so constrained -- can grow and in some cases so -- dropped in these cities.
That -- good grasp of the obvious in developing Biotech businesses -- developing engineering businesses developing businesses that'll work locally.
With a little bit of investment -- -- any any any good environment.
Where there isn't -- be the crime in the corruption.
These Rust Belt cities and in these this is Connell referred to in the pre interview.
These cities that are dying could be surviving and thriving yet to -- the separation between the island all the winners and losers but the important ones and executed well -- -- prepare themselves in the situation Fargo, North Dakota on earlier this hour.
Vs other cities Detroit -- your example and there are others that just were not ready for this I finally heard let me leave you with this is -- What's gonna happen next you've been pessimistic about the state of retail for a while I don't know if you change your mind but done you know the as the economy starts to recover nationally.
Can we see it bounce back and some of these local areas are we still a ways off -- think -- are fox forecast.
For strategic resource group was a thousand day retail recession which we -- nineteen months ago sore right 600 days through it.
They're bad 400 days left.
-- -- to your point of a bounce back though it's also it's also with the leadership we're seeing.
Apple just revolutionize retail be ahead of Wal-Mart had a best buy in terms of music sales.
Nationally and internationally and in terms -- cities you have insurgent -- Like Mickey kerns who's who who's running against incumbent mayor brown in buffalo -- -- that city around you look at.
Cory Booker what he's done against this city machine and in -- -- and a lot of attention there can't.
And in Newark Cory Booker.
One of the become a politician a lot of people think on national scene as well see -- that pans out or not but anyway -- So it's good to see you thanks for coming likewise in part of this special coverage on the fox team are doing a great job and then 9/11 memorial in -- so many people across the country across from him in -- you have that very important day always we always have to remember thank you -- thank you.
Okay -- -- so we.
Throughout I thought I was just say we covered a lot to -- learned a lot -- about what how to bounce back from these types of situations and when and what it takes to survive in times like this and you know I generally positive attitude that we got from -- no matter what the situation was in -- specific -- children.
Positive -- just -- remind everybody we have a live streaming show every weekday noon eastern time foxbusiness.com.
Live we -- -- to join us for that it's available on Hulu and as a podcast.
On iTunes as well for sure body Joshi and -- the -- thanks for watching everybody take care.
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