Sales tax receipts down in March

By Corene Brisendine

Manhattan sales tax revenues for the month were down compared with those from March 2012, but they were still up compared with the same month in 2011, according to information released Thursday by city officials.

Sales tax revenues for March were $875,956, which was $71,047 less than in March 2012. Finance Director Bernie Hayen said all retail sales were down in Manhattan, but grocery sales were up by 8 percent from a year ago.

He also said that even though sales for the year to date are down compared with 2012, they are still up from 2011.

“That first five months of last year was an all-time high for city sales tax collections,” he said.

Hayen said for the first five months of 2013 compared with 2012, “sales are down by about $200,000, but compared with 2011, they are ahead by $300,000.”

In comparing total sales taxes collected for the year to date, 2013 is down by 4.9 percent from 2012. Hayen said last year was the first time the city broke $10 million in sales taxes collected for the year. While he said he does not think 2013 would surpass last year’s record, he does believe sales taxes will “hit $10 million.”

There is a two-month lag between sales taxes collected and received by the city because of the process of collection and distribution by the state.

Therefore, the sales taxes reported in May are from taxes collected in March.

The city budgeted for $871,413 in sales tax revenues in March after removing $61,704 for the TIF bonds covering the loans for the downtown redevelopment. That created a deficit of $57,160, making the total shortfall for the 2013 budget thus far $156,079.

City officials predicted $897,555 in adjusted sales taxes collected. An adjusted total of $814,253 was collected, which fell short of the prediction by $83,302. Adjusted total sales taxes are down by 3.9 percent for the year to date compared with the same time period in 2012.

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