This time of year, as our highways become clogged, we frequently hear references to the “flatlanders” that visit their second homes in the Rim Country.
In case you have not been here long enough, “flatlanders” is a reference to the people from the Valley who live on flat land compared to our varied topography.
It has always been, but even more so today, that we depend on the Valley people to sustain our local economy and our real estate market.
In some respects, with the Beeline Highway being expanded to four lanes, we have almost become a suburb of Phoenix/Scottsdale.
It has been said as the Valley goes, so goes our market and it has never been more true than today.
The “flatlanders” spend money in our stores, restaurants, and for our services.
The loss of their sales tax revenue would be devastating to Payson’s economy. Then there is the real estate side to this.
Larry Huffer of the Gila County assessor’s office was kind enough to provide some eye-opening statistics.
The Payson Unified School District collected a little under $14,000,000 in property taxes last year. This includes money from bond issues.
Of this amount, people who own property, but live outside the area and mostly in the Valley, pay more than $4,700,000, or roughly 34 percent.
The figures for the Pine-Strawberry School District are even more startling.
The property taxes collected there are approximately $2,700,000. Non-residents pay more than $1,700,000 of this amount, or nearly 63 percent of the revenues collected by the school district.
Imagine the impact and devastation to our communities if “flatlanders” did not invest and spend dollars here.
Our schools and our county could not feasibly operate without their contribution of property taxes.
Another consideration is that while they own property here, they do not require the services or create the impact of full-time residents.
Next time a “flatlander” cuts you off on the roundabout, give them a smile and a kind wave with all five fingers held firmly together.
They did not mean to ... and keep in mind what they contribute to our economic base and our children’s education.
If you have a home to sell, hug a “flatlander.” He or she may be the one who buys your home.
Ray Pugel is a designated broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.