ATHENS, Ala. - With several new shops and restaurants opening in Athens toward the close of 2019, Mayor Ronnie Marks said things are looking up for the city.
But he wants to remind people to spend their dollars locally to help improve their area.
In the City of Athens, of the nine percent sales tax you see on your grocery receipt, four percent of that goes to the state, two percent goes to Limestone County, and the remaining three percent goes to the City of Athens. Mayor Marks said that small number makes a big difference.
"Leaf trucks, garbage trucks, police cars. Police cars totally, with striping, all equipped is 35, 40 thousand dollars," said Mayor Marks.
Those are the types of purchases Mayor Marks said local tax revenue brings to Athens. The fiscal 2020 general fund budget is 31.5 million dollars.
"40 percent of sales tax runs my general fund. So anything I can do to get new sales, to get new retail developments and other things," Marks added. "It's an opportunity for us to grow."
Marks said as Athens grows, he hopes to be presented with an array of retail and restaurant options.
"I may not want pizza tonight, but I may want this or that," explained Marks. "It's just, again, being all-inclusive. As we grow our population we'll have more opportunities. Right now some of the retailing investments, some of the clothing stores that may want to come here are saying 'well your population doesn't support that.'"
Last year, Athens saw a 19.9 percent rate of growth, and Marks said that number will only continue to increase.
As the population expands, he said so will local options making Athens more desirable.