News Column

Second quarter sales tax receipts inch up in Warren County

June 17, 2014

By Don Lehman, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y.

June 17--Warmer weather has translated for more revenue for Warren County, as sales tax receipts have rebounded significantly from the winter doldrums seen during the first quarter of the year.

Sales tax receipts dropped 3.5 percent during the first quarter, a concerning figure as the county's 2014 budget was dependent on a 2.2 percent increase over the prior year.

Receipts for April and May have improved, with a 4.1 percent increase over the two-month period. But that has not been enough to make up for the slow early quarter, so the total is down 0.6 percent so far.

"The numbers are showing some recovery, but they are still a little behind," said Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty. "It's concerning because we did budget sales tax aggressively."

Sales tax receipts, a major source of revenue for county government, have risen each of the last four years to a record of $48.8 million last year.

County officials believe the late arrival of spring played a part in the slow start to the year in tax collections. Garden centers and home improvement businesses and a number of other seasonal industries reported delayed starts to the construction and landscaping seasons because of late cold and snow.

Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas, the county's budget officer, said other revenue sources have been lagging as well.

Mortgage tax receipts are down 32 percent and fees collected by the county clerk were off 24 percent, according to a budget report issued May 23 by the county Treasurer's Office.

Automobile use tax collections have risen 2 percent so far.

Occupancy tax figures showed a 5.6 percent increase, and Treasurer Michael Swan and numerous county supervisors have questioned how occupancy tax could rise significantly while sales tax was off markedly.

He said he has sought clarification on the issue from the state Department of Taxation and Finance.


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Source: Post-Star (Glen Falls, NY)

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