The Camden County Commission’s talking about a strong economy in the Lake Area.
Increases in sales tax revenue are the driving force.
“In 2020 sales tax revenue, for the month of May, it was up 9.39% over 2019….this year the month of May is up 32.53% over 2020 and it’s up almost 45% over 2019” says Second district commissioner Don Williams.
He tells KRMS News numbers for June are higher, more than 65-percent over this time a year ago.
Williams credits tough decisions made by the commission a year ago as it was learning more about COVID-19 “we started hearing the news that the virus dies quickly in sunlight and it’s very hard to spread out in the open air, so we wanted people to make their own decisions and do what they want to do.”
Williams says the Camden County Commission bet on freedom, and the Lake Area won “with us being open, and with everyone else being shut down…a lot of people came here, saw what the Lake of the Ozarks is like and we’ve got a wonderful area…so now a lot of people are coming back with their families, buying property here and it’s just looking really really good for the Lake of the Ozarks.”
Property values have increased more than 30-percent over the last year.
Williams was interviewed by Christian Blood on the KRMS Morning Magazine.
The sales-tax revenue figures for the spring of 2021 are coming in and the economy of Camden County is roaring. Our economy is even stronger than in the record-setting year of 2020.
In 2020, while the rest of the country was mired in financial crisis brought on by draconian shutdowns due to Covid-19, Camden County Commissioners Greg Hasty, Don Williams and Beverly Thomas made the difficult decision to keep our county – and economy – open. For a brief four weeks, Camden County followed the rest of the state in issuing public health orders that restricted business. But then, with local Covid numbers stabilized at about 26 cases for almost three weeks, and acting upon new research indicating the Covid virus dies quickly in direct sunlight and is far less contagious outdoors, the commission rescinded all public health orders several weeks before Memorial Day and publicly announced to the world that the Lake of the Ozarks was open for business.
The result was a tremendous upsurge in the economy and possibly the best summer the Lake of the Ozarks has ever experienced. The usual number of tourists – approximately 2-4 million annually – exploded to estimates of 10-12 million. Real estate sales soared. By autumn 2020 available building-lot inventory was less than a third of the usual number. A simultaneous explosion in the home building and development industries resulted in months-long waits for construction. Realtors report that the area has seen a 30% jump in property values over the last year.
Millions of new visitors experienced our incredible area for the first time. Many people who vacationed at the lake last year are returning this summer, bringing their friends and families with them. With the low tax rates, excellent schools and the dynamic yet peaceful Midwestern, small-own quality of life that the Lake of the Ozarks offers, a great number of them decided to move here, buying or building summer homes, retiring here, or relocating with their families. The upshot is an almost exponential growth in our local economy.
Following are the monthly sales tax revenue increases for 2021 over 2020:
January – up 18.53%
February – up 20.20%
March – up 18.64%
April – up 02.73%
May – up 32.53%
June – up 65.61%
In 2020, sales tax revenue for the month of May was up 9.39% over 2019. This year, in 2021, sales tax revenue for May is up 32.53% over 2020 and is up 44.96% over 2019. June is looking even better, with sales tax figures up a whopping 65.61% over June of 2020.
By the end of 2020, sales tax revenue was up 5.05% for the year over 2019. So far, as of June, 17, 2021, sales tax revenue for the year is up 27.05% over 2020.
With the estimates of 10-12 million tourists coming to the lake last summer, the Lake of the Ozarks enjoyed over three times the usual number of visitors. This summer, many realtors and business people are expecting those same visitors to return, bringing their friends and families with them, and generating a summer season of 15-16 million visitors. The commission is very happy to see these kinds of sales tax numbers and are excited at these deeply encouraging economic indicators for our residents, our businesses and our county.