Officials are starting to see the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as the city’s sales in March dropped 14.7%, or $1.5 million, compared to March 2019.

The city had about $9.1 million in retail sales in March based on a May report reflecting March sales. That is down from the $10.6 million in sales during the same time period last year.

That comes from a calculation using the base sales tax rate for Manhattan of 8.95%. (This base sales tax rate of 8.95% is not the uniform rate in all parts of Manhattan, however.)

Reflecting March sales, the city collected $140,937 less in sales tax revenue in May compared to May 2019. This May, the city brought in $816,365, which is down from $957,302 collected during May 2019.

“The recent events has left many companies closed for the last two weeks in March,” Ashley McNatt, senior financial analyst for the city, said in a Thursday email to The Mercury.

Specifically, wholesale trade plus accommodations and food services in May 2020 were down 38% and 32% from May 2019.

Through May 2020, the city has collected $4.5 million in sales tax revenue, which is down $83,630 from the same time period last year. That is a decrease of 1.81%. The city collected $4.6 million through May 2019.

Job loss

The city of Manhattan, including Riley and Pottawatomie counties, lost 5,118 jobs from March to April. The unemployment rate is 8.4%, which is lower than Wichita’s and Topeka’s rates.

Wichita’s unemployment rate is 17.8%, Topeka’s is 11.7% and the entire state’s unemployment rate is 11.2%.

Jason Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, reported this data Thursday afternoon to the Manhattan Area Recovery Task Force.

The state of Kansas lost about 137,000 jobs from March to April, Smith said.

Construction

Sunset Avenue will close from Poyntz Avenue through Anderson Avenue beginning Monday for street repairs, the city announced Thursday.

Residents in the area will still be able to reach their residences, but crews will set up detours at 17th Street and Anderson Avenue as well as Poyntz Avenue and 17th Street, officials said.

At the K-18 bridge, starting Friday, vehicular traffic was moved to the north westbound lanes as crews reconstruct the south eastbound lanes and bridge, officials said.

Regarding pedestrians, the Linear Trail will be closed between Richards Drive and Rosencutter Road, so crews will install a pedestrian detour, officials said. A temporary crossing will be on the west side of the intersection for pedestrians, officials said. Officials said the sidewalk on the north side of Fort Riley Boulevard will close between Richards Drive and Westwood Road.

The sidewalks on the west side of Richards Drive and Rosencutter Road will stay open, officials said.

In addition, the northernmost westbound lane on Fort Riley Boulevard is closing from South 8th Street through South 10th Street for about two weeks for the Douglass Center project, officials said Thursday.