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Orleans sees a jump in sales tax

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2014 at 12:00 am

Many other counties see a drop in dollars

ALBION – Orleans County’s sales tax revenues jumped 5.3 percent or by nearly $400,000 the first six months of 2014, compared to the same time a year ago.

That increase defies a downward trend for many other counties in the state. In fact, 16 of the 62 counties have a drop in sales tax revenue and state-wide the county sales tax revenue has only increased 0.14 percent, according to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Orleans County officials budgeted for a $25,000 increase in sales tax for the year. The county typically takes in about $15 million for the year.

It’s up by $386,597 for the first six months, $7,741,592 for the first half of 2014 compared to $7,354,995 during the same time frame in 2013.

Neighboring Genesee County saw a steep drop the first half of 2014, a decrease of 4.1 percent or $767,399 to $17,891,433. Wyoming County is down 0.8 percent and Livingston is behind the 2013 pace by 0.7 percent.

Orleans didn’t experience the growth in sales tax like the three other GLOW counties prior to this year. The county came in $363,831 below its budget for sales tax in 2013, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.

The county’s tracking shows a $183,099 increase for the first half of 2014, Nesbitt said.

“My hope at this time is that we will make the budgeted number,” he said.

With so many counties trailing last year’s numbers, the New York State Association of Counties is worried about “significant pockets of weakness across the state.” The sales tax revenue is a key indicator of economic health of a community, said Stephen J. Acquario, NYSAC executive director.

“Sales tax revenue is crucial to counties, as it is one of only a handful of revenue sources available,” he said. “The state must make an ongoing commitment to targeted Mandate Relief in health and human programs and relieve the burden on local taxpayers.”