SPENCER - Beginning next week, July 12-14, The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation staff will begin going to local stores to gather data to compile data for a Cost of Living Index for communities. The Cost of Living Index is designed to provide a useful and reasonably accurate measure to compare and contrast cost of living among urban areas.
Items on which the Index is based have been carefully chosen to reflect different categories of consumer expenditures. Prices are collected at a specific time, in strict conformance with standard specifications and provide a sound basis for constructing a gauge of differences in the cost of consumer goods and services.
"We've been asked repeatedly for cost of living information from area employers and, over the years, have considered commissioning our own study to provide this information," said Kathy Evert, president and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation. "Most people are aware of the cost of living index (COLI) that has been published for several years each quarter for larger cities, and now we have an opportunity to participate for our smaller communities. We believe providing this information for each of our four county-seat communities (Estherville, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Storm Lake) will be valuable and useful information for employers as they're recruiting employees and for us as we market the region to prospective workers and employers."
The Iowa Lakes Corridor will begin participating in the national Cost of Living Index (COLI) this summer. The index has five key areas: food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services. There will be a separate index for each area and then a composite index. The Corridor staff will be conducting the surveys in person at area grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and other shops, as well as by telephone. Area business support will be greatly appreciated and will help ensure an accurate index is developed each quarter. A cost of living calculator will be available for the public to use on the Corridor's website late this summer as a part of its workforce recruitment efforts.