Halfway Through Year, Jefferson County Sales Tax Off
With 2014 half over, sales tax collections in Jefferson County are the lowest they've been in three years.
The county collected $15,776,153 through June. That's lower than the $15,992,996 raised in in the first six months of 2013, lower than the $16,308,708 collected in 2012.
If the trend continues, county officials calculate sales tax collections will end the year more than a million dollars under budget.
Scott Gray, who heads the county legislature's general services committee, called the sales tax collection statistics "bleak" and cautioned the county will have to hold the line on spending.
"A look forward means we will more than likely have to budget at or below the current number in order to regain a working balanced budget that does not rely on fund balance usage," Gray noted.
"This, coupled with initiatives that require bonding for projects and addition staffing required at the correctional facility, will impede our ability to meet our imposed tax cap."
The county is building a new dormitory at the Jefferson County jail to ease overcrowding, a move that may require the hiring of up to five new corrections officers.
In general, sales tax collections have become much more important to Jefferson County over the last decade, as the county has moved away from financing its operations through property tax and has come to rely more on sales tax.
Saturday, August 23, 2014, Watertown, NY
On Wall Street