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Salida: Low wages and expensive houses

Brief by Central Staff

Salida economy – June 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Salida is a city of contradictions, according to the people who put together the city’s proposed new comprehensive plan.

The average Salida resident is, to put it politely, “economically challenged.” Median household income in Salida in 1990 was $17,482, lower than Buena Vista’s $20,462 and the county’s $21,174.

Move to 1996, the last year for which data are available, and Salida’s median household income, adjusted for inflation, dropped to $16,082.

But even as income dropped, housing prices have climbed. Salida has the highest housing prices in the county, with the average sale price at $128,832 in 1999.

The planners also noted that Salida has seen no growth in non-retail and non-service industries, which is “slowly destabilizing Salida’s economic base,” and observes that “the city operates primarily from sales tax revenues, which could be severely impacted by a downturn in the economy.”

The Federal Reserve Board keeps jacking up interest rates in the hope of provoking that downturn, and for all we know, it could succeed one of these days.

Not that this appeared to bother the Salida city council, which on May 15 approved hiring two more policemen, to be stationed inside the schools.

Those costs will be covered by a grant — but just for three years, and after that city taxpayers will presumably pick up that burden.

We’ve never noticed that Salida schools were so dangerous that they needed armed officers, and we recall that there was one present at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and it didn’t seem to matter.

It’s hard to see how this represents “money well spent,” but maybe the idea is to prepare children for a future when everything will be under direct police supervision.