MONTE VISTA - “The City of Monte Vista continues to be financially sound even through this pandemic and we’ve been able to see growth which is something in these times that is kind of rare and a little bit unexpected. But as we dive into this, I think it’s kind of what a lot of the small local governments are seeing across the nation and even some of the big governments,” said city Finance Director Jennifer Signs during her report at the last Monte Vista City Council meeting.
“I attribute a lot of our success obviously to our citizens having the faith in this community and shopping local, as well as again going back to our staff of minding their P’s and Q’s and not spending more than we needed to spend. That helped immensely,” said Signs. Signs went on to share how she felt they should be keeping an eye on other agriculture based communities saying, “As far as forecasting and budgeting we’re going to be keeping a close eye on commodities as I think that’s going to be the driving factor. Obviously for our community since it’s Ag based more so than looking at national numbers and things. We’ll be looking more toward communities that are like ours based in Agriculture to get us through these next few months and into the budget for next year. And the following year.”
Later in her report, Signs shared that economic activity in Monte Vista has been more than expected for 2020. “Economic activity in Monte Vista has continued to outperform expectations in 2020. While the pandemic is ongoing and economic recovery will impact sectors in geographic regions differently it appears that we’re going to follow our historical trends and show growth during what people are trying to call a recession. Our economy in Monte dipped slightly a couple of years after the 2008 recession. I don’t know if that’s going to happen again after all of this. I’m not a predictor I can’t tell, but given the trends that we’ve seen over the years it more than likely will feel the effects from this in a couple of years versus end of year next year. Those types of things I think are going to be a while before we see that,” Signs told the council.
Signs went on to share another a driving factor that they look at when they’re doing financial forecasting which is unemployment rates. Signs stating, “The unemployment rates in the San Luis Valley in all the counties are well below the national average. The national average is roughly around 15 percent right now. The counties in the Valley vary anywhere between 7 to 11 percent. So, they’re coming in quite a bit less than what the rest of the nation is seeing so that’s also playing a factor and playing a role in what we’re seeing as far as people’s willingness to spend and our economy, and our sales tax revenues.”
Signs went on to explain a how some business are doing differently under the current economic situation saying, “The thing with recessions and the economy is it always changes it always shifts and not so much that the cash flow changes it’s just a difference in where the cash flows are changing. You know we’re not feeling the effects, but we know that our restaurants, our salons, and those types of things are feeling effects from it. Whereas our grocery stores, our gas stations, and those types of things it’s kind of business as normal and in fact business is better.”
Signs also shared with the council some information she had recently found in the Wall Street Journal saying, “You have to show three quarters of decline in order to be considered a recession. And our stock market has now been gaining for the last five months. So as far as being able to classify this as a true recession we haven’t hit that yet. The SNP had its best August since 1986. It’s up 7 percent in August 2020 versus what it was in August 1986, and we saw the most growth and it’s coming in higher than what it was. So, trying to say that our stock market isn’t growing and that we’re in a recession kind of doesn’t go along with what the numbers are saying.”
Signs also shared another factor that the stock market is being reshaped by the top 1 percent of U.S. income holders dumping their stocks when the pandemic was coming. This gave more middle class Americans an opportunity to buy into the stock market explain Signs. “You’re going to see that those numbers are starting to come back and the stock market is stabilizing, and it is bouncing back. Almost more than half on some of the stock regained what we’ve lost. We’re almost back where we were before all this happened So that’s something else that is playing a factor on why a lot of state and local governments aren’t feeling the same effects that we thought we would feel,” said Signs.
If you would like to see the entire report, you can view it on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmd2K6XcrX0