Economic impact strengthens community

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I am so very grateful for the many ways our local community supports Valley City State University. I am equally proud of the significant impact VCSU has on the community. Many of our faculty and staff reside here, send their children to our local schools, and serve as engaged citizens in a myriad of ways. Similarly, many of our students are employed here, live here, and serve here. The friendships created warm the heart and often change lives. That is impact.There is another impact made by VCSU not so readily thought about—the economic impact. Every two years the North Dakota University System commissions a study of the economic contribution the universities and our students have on the state and local economy. Did you know that in the most recent study the economic impact of VCSU on the Valley City area for fiscal year 2015 was an estimated $91.5 million, an 18 percent increase over the last 5 years!Key economic indicators included in the study were direct impacts, total level of economic activity, personal income, retail trade, tax revenues, and employment. Increased retail trade activity was estimated to have more than doubled from $9.5 million in fiscal year 1999 to $20.4 million in fiscal year 2015, representing an $11.0 million, or 115 percent, increase. Accordingly, increased levels of retail trade activity would generate $946,000 in sales and use tax in fiscal year 2015, and personal income tax collections were estimated to be $520,000 that same year. Further, the report indicates that levels of business activity resulting from VCSU expenditures would support 200 jobs—in addition to faculty and staff jobs—in 2015.Students also contribute to the local community in a big way. In fiscal year 2015, direct impacts of student spending in the Valley City area were $10.4 million, with a total economic contribution from student spending of $25.9 million. The report indicates that this level of student spending would generate an additional $543,000 in sales and use tax revenue, along with $94,000 in personal income tax collections—creating enough business activity to support 45 jobs.The message I take away from that data is that our partnership is strong. We add value to the community and the community makes us better. Our enviable town/gown relationship—whether counted by the strength of our positive interactions or in dollars—makes it yet another great day to live in Valley City, and a great day to be a Viking!