Langley economy strong in 2001

Pointing to surprisingly strong 2001 retail sales within his city, Langley Mayor Lloyd Furman predicted this week that 2002 could be a good one for business and for the income stream at city hall.

In spite of a hyped drop in consumer spending nationwide, Langley merchants and business people had their second-best year ever, at least in terms of total sales. When the city closed its books on 2001 on Dec. 31, sales tax collections topped $245,495, a figure just $7,000 behind a record-setting 2000 sales performance and almost $16,000 ahead of 1999.

"It was still a high year for us," said Debbie Mahler, Langley's clerk-treasurer, at a city council meeting Wednesday.

Furman said the local economy's buoyancy during the past year is a predictor of even better times to come.

"I don't think we're going to suffer as many economic losses as we thought at the end of September," Furman said, alluding to the economic downturn after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Unlike in most other cities and counties around the state, sales taxes are Langley's largest income source. A good year of sales in 2002 could put sales tax revenues almost $100,000 ahead of property tax income this year.

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