Local Currency Fayetteville Arkansas
well here is an update on what we have been up to in the ozarks.
we are creating our little serf hamlets, our serf permaculture enclaves, starting a transition town initiative and all in all being good serfs.
we had the pleasure of hosting paul glover over the weekend. paul is the guy who started ithaca hours arguably the most successful local currency in the country. he is currently living in philadelphia doing his community work there.
we had scheduled a meeting with the new mayor of fayetteville and members of the chamber of commerce on friday morning but pauls’ flight was rescheduled so we did not get that meeting in. we will reschedule our a meeting with the chamber at a later date. we had a potluck on friday night which was attended by about 20 people. it offered a chance for people to meet paul and get to know the person.
personally i found paul a very warm and compassionate human being who is dedicated to finding simple, practical solutons to a whole range of issues.
saturday was the big day. paul and members of our steering group went to the farmers market early in the morning and met with the vendors to talk about local currency and invite them to a meeting at 2 pm. at 9:30 we met with the mayor briefly and he admitted to not knowing much about it but was open to the idea. (fayetteville has a projected budget shortfall of almost 3 million dollars) our steering group then had a meeting with him at 10 am we were able to get real first hand info on what it takes to make a local currency work. ( chris has commented about this in a post last year. ) it takes at least one dedicated person to be the networker. it needs a lot of promotion and on the groung face to face networking. paul did this for 8 years and got it up and flourishing. after he left it declined over the years. it is not something which you can just set up and expect to run on its own. ithaca has now, after running it by committee for 10 years, hired a networker full time.
we had a meeting at 2 with some vendors from the market and it was very informative.
we had a public talk at 7 at the unitarian church which was attended by about 50 people. ithaca hours were passed out to everyone so they could see what it looked like. paul spoke for over one and a half hours. it was very informal and people would ask questions as we went along. personally i would have preferred paul just talk and save the questions for afterwards as it was hard to stay on track, but it was very organic and people seemed to be very engaged.
we had a sign up sheet so that people could give their name, phone email and what goods or services they were willing to take local currency for. about 40 people signed up. the mayor attended the meeting and stayed for most of it. in our meeting with the mayor his concern was what about sales tax revenue. some business owners were concerned about it as well.
it is a very simple question to answer. whatever you sell that is subject to sales tax you pay sales tax in the currency the entity requires. if it is federal reserve notes then you pay in federal reserve notes. you report your income to the irs and state if applicable and pay them in the currency they require ie. federal reserve notes.
it is important to note that local currency is but one part of building a resilient community. paul was very clear about that point.
our steering group will now get together to get the currency off the ground. we will be designing the currency, signing up people to participate and looking for someone to be the networker. this is the most important element. we are going to try to find someone to be a vista or americor worker. ha obama can fund an alternative currency.
i will keep you all posted on how we are doing.
if any of you are working on your own local currency please let me know how you are doing and i would like to share any ideas you have.
if anyone is thinking about starting it getting a hold of paul is a good first step. he is very helpful and gives till there is no more to give ………….then he gives some more.
viva la revolucion
I was thinking about your group this weekend. Thanks for posting your news. From what you describe it sounds like you folks are germinating in the right sunlight. Key will be to bring the chamber of commerce on board with this effort as I believe they can be a positive component of your network through business2business promotion and perhaps bring a local bank into the mix.
You are right on target about the need for a local currency to have a long range plan and support. From what I have gathered on the subject now for the past 8 months, the efforts fizzle out when:
1) not grounded in the idea of velocity of the currency
2) not anchored by a network that can support the project long term
3) overall economy improves and need to support local currency appears passe
The folks in Fayetteville are to be congratulated Joe. I know how much (energy, spirit, soul) investment has been made in this project. All the best to you.
hope you are well and doing more than surviving. i will keep you updated
Nice work, Joe. This sort of undertaking is so far from my ken (currently) that the idea of it kind of boggles my mind. But it’s yet one more piece of the local/perma/sustaina/culture landscape, and an important one.
Viva — Sager