The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Corey Costelloe
Assistant to the City Manager 

Highlighting the success within the economic landscape of our community

Economic Development Update


November 9, 2019

Corey Costelloe

"Shop UP" this holiday season and save money

With a diverse blend of both major and small retail offerings making up the largest selection of goods ever available in Tehachapi, it should be noted that the low sales tax rate in the City of Tehachapi can mean real savings this holiday season.

As a result, the City is unveiling our "Shop UP" campaign to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the lowest sales tax rate among nearby cities. In 2018 the City of Bakersfield passed a one-percent sales tax increase, bringing their rate to 8.25 percent, the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and Palmdale both operate at 9.50 percent, Santa Clarita is 8.25 percent.

While Tehachapi can't compete with every big-city purchase, there are real savings in shopping locally. For example, the National Retail Federation claims the average consumer aged 35-44 is expected to spend about $1,158 this year on gifts. So, if $1,158 worth of gifts were purchased in Tehachapi, the total sales tax would equal $83.95. The same purchases in Bakersfield or Santa Clarita would cost $95.53 in sales tax. In Lancaster or Palmdale, those $1,158 in purchases would cost $110 in sales tax. If one factors in the high cost of fuel, it goes without saying how the savings add up.

The bigger ticket items such as appliances, televisions, electronics and such can also add up to real savings when taking sales tax into consideration. These items are not only available, but now there are a wide variety of options thanks to new retail offerings over the last several years in the City of Tehachapi. Secondly, shopping local has a major economic impact on local businesses, both large and small. Fewer trips outside of Tehachapi for goods during the holidays mean more supplemental spending at local restaurants, grocery stores and small businesses that focus in specialty items.

While many enjoy the convenience of online shopping, it was recently shown in a study by Statista that 54 percent of holiday shoppers prefer shopping in-person because unique one-of-a-kind gifts are tough to find online. This always gives brick and mortar retailers an advantage during the holiday season.

So, when it's time to brave the shopping crowds, remember in 2019 it pays to Shop UP in the City of Tehachapi.

Public Safety Power Shutoff impact

The City of Tehachapi recently had businesses impacted by Southern California Edison de-energizing the Viento circuit without any prior notice, contrary to Public Safety Power Shutoff protocol. The City of Tehachapi would like to track the impact to all businesses that had to close due to lack of power during PSPS shutoffs. Additionally, if your business has invested in backup power supplies, we are interested in what sort of capital costs you are incurring as a result.

Please email your story/estimated financial impact to Corey Costelloe at We plan to use this information and work with legislators and regulators to hold SCE accountable for PSPS events.

New advisor at the helm of Tehachapi's Edward Jones

Brandon Billings took the opportunity to finally get involved in the world of financial advising, something that had been on his mind for years while he worked in another field.

Timing however is everything, and with a spouse pursuing an education and career in the medical field and the needs of a new family, the right time had to wait. Finally everything aligned for Billings, who received an opportunity to take over a portion of an Edward Jones practice from the retiring Ben Graham. Now he's investing into the community with his time, energy and focus on local small businesses and their retirement options.

"I love finance, I love investing, I love helping people," Billings said. "Coming from working with businesses in the industrial industry I had so many friends in '14, '15, '16 who lost their jobs and had no idea what to do. Most people that have financial advisors are in some office they have never been to and require $500,000 to $1 million just to have a face to face meeting; I'll talk to the kid who's opening his first IRA or the retired folks."

Billings likes working with small businesses specifically and is letting them know that his firm can help these companies provide retirement plans for their employees. With a strong economy and increased competition for talent, Billings believes offering an affordable retirement plan can help make up for the inability to pay a high salary.

"Offering retirement plans, that individual part of it, is such a big deal because nowadays people look at the benefits of the job as much as they look at the salary," he said. "They have to find ways to stay competitive, if not they're constantly hiring and retraining."

Also, being local, Billings can take advantage of the face-to-face approach.

"I've spoken with companies in Tehachapi that have 50 employees and a retirement plan, but the company managing their plan is in San Diego," he said. "The difference with me is, as an employee, you will talk to me at least twice a year and meet once a year, face-to-face. So, when you have those financial moments that matter, like you're having a baby and you want to save for college, you're not searching all over for someone to help you manage your life event, you already have someone to come to."

There's also the benefit to the small business owners in Tehachapi, as well. Billings points out that many assume that selling their business is their final retirement plan, but there are so many other options.

"As bigger corporations move in, small businesses are slowly fading away. Meaning the business owner who has a plan to sell his business and live off of the proceeds for retirement, may not have that option. With tax savings and other things, it's affordable to save for retirement. The misconception is that you can't afford it, but the reality is you can't afford not to do it."

Edward Jones' Tehachapi office is located at 709 W. Valley Blvd., Ste. B. For more information you can view Brandon Billings' information on the web at or call (661) 823-4879.

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