Madison County (WSYR-TV) - Madison County has developed a new concept to get people to shop locally.
The county is offering debit cards issued through Oneida Savings Bank that work just like any other debit card, except they have a direct benefit to Madison County and the people who use it.
"When the county approached us we were thrilled to be a part of this project because it fit right in with our philosophy," said Mike Kallet, the Chairman and CEO of Oneida Savings Bank.
The county, suffering from a tough budget year, was trying to come up with a way to increase sales tax dollars and decided the best way was to have people spend their money in the county.
"You take that card out and you're going to swipe it to buy gas or groceries, you see that logo, you think about 'where am I spending that money,'" explained Scott Ingmire, the Director of Planning and Employment Training for Madison County.
“Now it’s something that I'm aware of when I go out, if I buy it this side of the county line ultimately I'm going to see some kind of benefit from this in my taxes," Kallet said.
As part of the program, people who use the card at a store with a Buy Madison sticker in the window will receive a little extra reward.
"Maybe a free coffee on Tuesday if you use your Buy Madison Card or a 5 percent discount at a jewelry store if you spend over a $100, those kinds of things, so we're working now to get that inertia with Chamber of Commerce," Ingmire said.
Madison officials say educating people is a main part of the effort of Buy Madison and they believe spending a little more money in the county can go a long way.Madison County has a website
that has a calculator that shows people of Madison County the affects of spending locally.
They also plan to soon have a directory of local businesses.
The debit card with its rewards program is expected to be up and running before the holiday shopping season.