Spirit Lake population up 3.7%; household income at $53,971

Spirit Lake’s population is up 3.7%, to an estimated 5,018 people, with median household income of $53,971 annually, and per capital income at $29,589, according to the recently released 2015 Annual Fiscal Conditions Report, Spirit Lake, Iowa, published by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The city reported improved revenue of $4,414 per person, up from $3,442 in 2014, but still down from $5,987 in 2013.

About 32.5% of those employed work in management, business, science, and arts, with 21.9% in sales and office work, and 20% in production, transportation, and material moving. About 24% of Spirit Lake residents attain a college Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared to about 26% statewide. According to the report, workers without degrees may have a hard time supporting their families.

Urban areas tend to have higher levels of college-educated workers, but the numbers tend to be lower in rural communities. This trend may have a negative impact on rural communities, because in the current economic climate, it is challenging for people with a low education level to find employment that pays a living wage capable of supporting a family.

Fortunately, 87.6% of Spirit Lake residents work inside Dickinson County, which helps maintain the local economy.

If residents commute to jobs located outside the city, there is a good possibility that their retail expenditures are made outside the city. The city loses sales tax revenue as a result. However, if a city has a lot of people that live elsewhere but work in the city—the city may gain sales tax dollars as a consequence.

Property taxes for 2015 increased to $455 per person, compared to $441 in 2014. McClelland’s Beach residents will be happy to note that, according to the report, a slight raise in property taxes is a good thing as it means property values are holding or increasing. Property taxes made up 10.3% of the city’s revenue stream in 2015.

It is generally desirable for per-capita, real property tax to remain stable or marginally increase over time. A decline may indicate lowering property values or tax delinquencies.

The Spirit Lake housing vacancy rate, based on 2014, the most recent year available, sits at 14.4%, compared to 39.4% in Dickinson County and 8.6% statewide.

Spirit Lake residents’ average age is 41.9 years old, according to the most recent estimate from 2010.

Reliance on intergovernmental revenue, “monies obtained from other governments” that “can include grants, shared taxes, and contingent loans and advances” increased 387% from $150 per person in 2014 to $567 in 2015. However, according to the report:

Over-reliance on monies from either federal or state government is not recommended. The revenue streams of both these levels of government are dictated by broad economic conditions. Therefore, an economic slowdown could potentially put local governments at risk if funding is reduced or lost for local services so vital to the smooth functioning of cities.

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