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Aldermen approve plan to encourage local shopping

Buy local. Spend it here. Keep it here.

That’s the message the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen approvedsending to local residents starting this week as a part of theshop-at-home campaign city officials have been working on toimprove local sales tax collections.

“It’s important that we get this message out,” said Ward SixAlderman David Phillips, who chaired the shop at home committee. “Irecommend we start running these ads as soon as possible becauseit’s so important to remind local people to shop at home duringthese very difficult economic times.”

After aldermen unanimously agreed to launch it this week, the adcampaign will run until the end of the fiscal year, which is nextSeptember 30.

“The goal is very simply to make the citizens of Brookhaven andLincoln County aware of the many benefits of buying local,”Phillips said. “We want citizens to understand our sales taxdollars pay for police and fire protection, parks and recreationand other vital services, and also make them understand it keepsthe property taxes from rising by buying goods and serviceslocally.”

The ad campaign features rotating ads focusing on how salesdollars help the city, with one stating, “Every dollar spent out oftown is gone forever.” The ads point out that 60 percent ofBrookhaven’s general fund revenue comes from sales tax, while only18 percent comes from property taxes.

“Buying locally creates jobs and helps service providers bysupplying the local jobs and services we demand,” Phillips said.”Plus, it has a powerful effect on Brookhaven and Lincoln County. Ibelieve it’s a very timely message especially in the times we’rein.”

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner pointed out the hard work thecommittee has put in to find ways to reach the public with themessage. He also said buying at home is not important for gettingthe city ahead, but for keeping it afloat.

“It doesn’t get you ahead, it keeps you up,” he said. “We’ve gotto do it to maintain our present position, and we need everyone torealize the importance of it. We have to make sure we defend ourown turf.”

In other board business, members of the 155th National GuardInfantry appeared before the board to ask for the city’s supportfor families of National Guardsmen when they’re sent overseas inthe coming months.

The guardsmen invited the board to a covenant signing at theNational Guard facility on Highway 84 on March 10 at 10 a.m., whichwill simply represent the community’s pledge to uphold the familiesof the soldiers while they’re deployed.

“What it does is provide an avenue for the Family ReadinessGroup, so if someone has a problem and the family has a need,someone can point them in the right direction,” said Capt. ShainVice.

Commander Bill Glasgow said the covenant is not only a help tothe families who are without fathers or mothers, but also to themen and women who are stationed overseas.

“We just need a list of people that spouses can call, becausesomeone gets on the e-mail, and their car is broken down and thewife can’t get the kids to the nursery, and can’t get to work, thena soldier is trying to call home to get things taken care of,” hesaid. “If they’re distracted because they’re worried about thingsat home, it’s bad.”

The men said just knowing there are plumbers or mechanics orelectricians in the area who are willing to be contacts forfamilies with members overseas is a great comfort to the militaryfamilies as they prepare to face the next deployment.

Mayor Bob Massengill expressed the board’s appreciation for theinvitation.

“Hopefully we’ll have a number of our folks there,” he said,adding that there will be city support for the parade to be heldApril 13, when the unit leaves for annual training.