It seems appropriate that a will be handed out for the first time ever at the Fairfax Festival to buy goods from Fairfax merchants by Fairfax residents and visitors.
Unlike play money, though, the brand-new FairBuck buys more than just Monopoly houses. The coins, which will be worth $3, will be accepted at a variety of businesses around town.
Among the businesses already signed on to accept the FairBuck as a form of currency are: , , , , , , , and . , and Ringsies Frame Shop are also interested and tentatively supportive.
“Most of them are really excited,” said S Executive Director and Fairfax Council Member Pam Hartwell-Herrero.
The FairBuck is a joint project of Sustainable Fairfax, the town of Fairfax, and the . Each organization donated $4,000 to mint the first 5,000 coins and do outreach. Each coin cost only $1 to mint, but will be worth $3 at participating businesses in town. (The additional funds are being kept in reserve.) Much like the trade token in West Marin, the FairBuck will help raise money that will go back to the organizations that started it. That money will fund community projects.
It’s going to take longer than Fairfax leaders initially thought, though, to make the money back, said Hartwell-Herrero.
In order to assuage business owners concerns, 100 percent reserve will be kept in the bank at First Federal Savings, at least for the first year. Business owners are then able to cash in the tokens at anytime if they are concerned they have gathered too many in their tills and feel uneasy. Of course, the business owners are instead encouraged to actively hand the tokens back out as change in order to circulate them in the community.
The biggest challenge after the coins are unveiled at the Fairfax Festival will be getting the coins out into the community and into circulation.
To encourage circulation, bulk deals may be offered at the festival – 7 coins for $20 instead of $21.
“We hope it’s something fun for the kids,” said Hartwell-Herrero. Most adults don’t use cash that much anymore, but it could be a fun way, she said, to pay kids for chores and know that they’ll then use it in town.
An education event last week taught nearly 70 people about how the FairBuck would work through a skit and simulation. Volunteers are still needed to help with staffing, sales, and outreach.
The new coin – featuring a buck and the snail – can be seen at right. Next year, once the progress has been evaluated, a 2012 version will be released with a new design on the back submitted by residents – Fairfax residents of course.
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the amount the coins cost to mint.