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`BUY BOUNTIFUL’ DRIVE GETS BOOST IN POWER BILLS

SHARE `BUY BOUNTIFUL’ DRIVE GETS BOOST IN POWER BILLS

Residents may soon be opening their power bills and discover an advertisement urging them to shop at home.

The power bill insert is part of a "Buy Bountiful" campaign being launched by the downtown and Five Points Mall merchants to get residents to shop in Bountiful and help boost the city's stagnant sales tax revenues.Jeff Bernson, manager of Five Points Mall, told the City Council this week that along with the power bill insert, the campaign will include three banners urging people to shop in the city and three major events to attract shoppers to the city. Those would include holiday promotions in December and January, a fall promotion, perhaps near Halloween, and another promotion, perhaps a Mardi Gras celebration.

The first promotion will start the city's Christmas-shopping season.

The campaign will hope to convince shoppers, who consistently travel to Salt Lake County and Layton for many items, that shopping in Bountiful helps support Bountiful government services, Bernson said.

"It will help keep taxes in line," he said.

The campaign will support what city officials have been saying for years as the city's sales tax revenue has begun to level off. Bountiful, which has traditionally had little problem funding its budgets, has had to start talking about cuts and belt tightening this year.

The campaign will also focus on teaching merchants three principles - selection, price and service, Bernson said.

At the council meeting Wednesday, Bernson requested that the city waive a $25 fee for hanging a banner and $150 charge for advertisement insertion into power bills. Council members and City Manager Tom Hardy said they were concerned that waiving the fee would set a precedent and might require the city to open up free services to other organizations. In view of that, the council decided to give the group a $175 donation from its contingency fund.