City coffers are taking a hit due to lower sales tax revenue this year, particularly in the second half of the year. But, Mayor Dean Maxwell says he’s confident the city can weather the storm.
Retail sales started dropping mid-year, causing a drop in the money the city gets from sales and use taxes. So far this year, the city has received about $205,000 less in sales & use tax revenue than at this time last year.
Data from Wash. Dept. of Revenue
The city of Anacortes received $2,453,458.08 in sales and use tax revenue for the first nine months of this year, compared with $2,659,040.19 for the same period last year. The state distributes tax revenues to local governments every month based on sales in the previous month.
Maxwell said the city is “extremely prudent” in it’s spending and has a five percent “rainy day” fund for emergencies of about $6 million.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mitch Everton said many local shops are doing just fine and that the drop in sales tax revenue could be due to a drop in new home construction and new car sales. “To the extent a local retailers could be seeing a drop in sales is really small potatoes compared to housing and autos.”
He said another good indicator for a healthy city is restaurant and lodging business, both of which Everton said have been stable.
In fact, state shared hotel/motel tax revenue to the city has dropped a bit from a year ago, but is significantly up from two years ago. The city saw hotel/motel tax revenue at $81,625 for the first nine months of this year. For the same period last year, the city took in $84,851, but in 2007, the city received $72,838 for the same period.
City sales and hotel/motel tax revenues could drop in October, reflecting a slow September and could go even lower in November because of the dropping stock market activity in October.