SALISBURY — With a number of new businesses moving to town as well as a burst of building in the residential market, after years stuck in the doldrums of the recent recession, things are looking up for the town’s overall economy.
Building inspector David Lovering told selectmen recently that to date, 2013 had already outpaced calender 2012 in the value of new construction projects. In all of 2012, 350 permits were issued, totaling $150,000 in fees for town coffers, representing $9.8 million in new projects costs, Lovering said.
As of the end of August 2013, 248 permits had already been issued, representing $159,000 in fees, and $10.3 million in project costs. Lovering projected that by December, that total could rise to $12.5 million in new projects.
The news was welcome. Since the recession hit, Salisbury, like most communities, had a long dry spell. New construction dropped off precipitously from years of growth in the early 2000s. For example, according to Salisbury chief assessor Cheryl Gorniewicz, prior to the recession, Salisbury usually issued between 500 to 600 permits annually, which included permits for repairs and improvements to local home and businesses, as well as the construction of new homes and commercial buildings.
In 2007, she said, right before the bottom dropped out of the national economy, the town issued 540 permits. In 2008, that eased down to 441 permits, but in 2009, during the worst part of the recession, total building permits of all kinds dropped to 299.
One of the true indicators of economic stability is when new businesses move to town and others within a commercial community expand. Both indicate owners are doing well and they have enough confidence in the economy’s health to be willing to take on the new debt that comes with relocation and expansion.
In Salisbury, that scenario has happened a number of times recently, with expansions earlier this year of local businesses such as Walls Ford and Tom’s Discount, and new entities, such as Mello Disposal and EnPro, moving to town.