Retail incentive program coming back May 1 to Gibson City

Retail incentive program coming back May 1 to Gibson City

GIBSON CITY — Gibson City will conduct another "Buy Gibson City" retail incentive program beginning May 1. This is the first time the city has ever run the program in consecutive years.

The program will be very similar to last year's incentive. Any household that spends $100 or more on one item taxed at the full sales tax will receive $100 in "Gibson Bucks." The gift "bucks" can be spent until Sept. 30 on any item at any participating retailer.

The city will once again dedicate $100,000 to the program — when it is gone, the program will be over. Participants do not have to be Gibson City residents.

Mayor Dan Dickey is the leading proponent of the "buy local" programs which he credits as having helped the city's sales tax revenue approach $600,000, which would be a record amount.

Council members voted 5-1 in favor of the plan during a special council meeting Monday night. Alderman John Carlson cast the no vote and council members Bette Lain and Dean Kidd were absent.

Carlson said he fees the program hardly gains anything beyond its cost. He also said residents say they prefer the city reduce taxes rather than pay for retail incentives.

Alderman Scott Davis, who is also current president of Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce, feels the program is a "win-win for everyone."

Dickey also said sales tax is "trending up." The 12-month comparisons showed gains in every year of the "Buy Gibson City" programs in fiscal 2009, 2011 and 2013. The current program will be part of the fiscal 2014 city budget.