After winning the Nov. 8 election to represent the Southern District on the Boone County Commission, Fred Parry has spent time working to learn even more about his new job.
Parry takes office on January 1. He sat down to take questions about growth in and around Ashland as a part of a two-part interview:
Q: How does Ashland increase its tax base?
A: What is best use of the SE corner of Rt. Y and Highway 63? I think everyone in Boone County should be concerned about the sales tax base. Sales tax funds 70% of general revenue funds – public safety and so on. So much of our public money is already allocated for necessities (employees, etc) that in order for Ashland to address some of its growing pains, and to keep pace with growth, it needs more revenue.
The best way to create economic opportunity is…..it’s going to have to be retail. So what can we do to increase retail?
I think the mayor and aldermen – their eyes are wide open – they know this and it’s not new to them. But compared to other similar-sized cities, Ashland’s sales tax is minimal.
Q: Will it be more difficult in the changing face of retail?
A: Yes. The convenience of online shopping – it is hard to argue against that and it is hard to convince consumers their time is better spent shopping locally. They need to support Mom and Pop local retailers – those are the businesses supporting the local quality of life here in Southern Boone County.
It’s frustrating because we have so many changes taking place in society. There is a huge trend and increased trend of online shopping happening at the same time that our needs for more sales tax revenue are becoming more and more evident. I think it looks like Ashland city officials are doing a good job of working with what they have. They are pretty efficient.
~ Read more of our interview with Fred Parry in today’s Journal ~