Every year, around the time when the cherry blossoms up and down Tama County’s streets start blooming is when we visit with each of the twelve city councils and county supervisors that make up Tama County Economic Development Commission for the annual report. This year we also left a present at each city hall: a 3-inch binder with Frequently Asked Questions and Resources custom-made for each town. The goal of the binder is to make the abstract concept of economic development more tangible, convenient, and increasingly accessible.
We also chatted about 10 of our quantifiable successes of 2009:
- Taxable Retail and Service Sales growth of 28%, from $83 million to $106 million annually over the past decade. This number is especially important to combat assumptions that the economy is contracting when it is in fact changing and adapting into a new economy
- Decreasing retail leakage from -$105M to -$80M from 2005 to 2008.
- Increasing number of small business formation over the past 5 years with a slight decrease in startups during the recession. Five years later, 50% of new ventures are still in operation.
- Unemployment significantly below the national average at 6.8% while the national annual average was 9.3%
- Iowa Great Places Designation with pledged special technical and financial support from state government over the next 3 years to enhance quality of life and sense of place for long-term economic investment.
- Certified Local Government designation to open new doors for historic preservation resources in the form of federal tax credits and a structured operational plan
- Being the first county to host the Iowa Tourism conference in rural Iowa in partnership with Tama-Toledo Chamber, Meskwaki Casino Bingo Hotel, Marshalltown Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Dysart and Iowa Connections.
- Raising almost $500K and making 99 grants to support nonprofit causes through the Tama County Community Foundation over the past 5 years
- 48 states and 33 different countries visited our website to obtain impartial and trusted information about Tama County.
- Increased prospect leads and site visits to Tama County in spite of a recession.