St. Lawrence County sees jump in sales tax revenue

Updated: Dec. 5, 2019 at 4:58 PM EST
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s a little gift under the tree for St. Lawrence County municipalities. Sales tax collections again beat expectations.

More people buying more stuff. That's means increased sales tax collections in St. Lawrence County. So once again municipalities will get a year-end bonus.

“It helps when it goes into your fund balance at the end of the year. And hopefully at that point you can either use it, or maintain it, and you can actually help cut back on property taxes,” said George Cayey, Colton town supervisor.

Cayey credits the extra money for keeping property taxes flat in Colton for two years running. Ogdensburg will get about $207,000 more in sales tax revenue. It’s also helping keep property taxes flat there.

“It's going to help you the taxpayer because we'll be able to offset our budget expenses by the sales tax revenue,” said Wayne Ashley, Ogdensburg mayor.

The county projects it will distribute an extra $1.35 million in sales tax to municipalities. The county should collect 3.8 percent more in sales tax than was expected this year.

There are theories as to why overall sales tax collections are up. But there seems to be an overriding one that you hear from a lot of people.

“People are out spending money right now. I think the economy is pretty good and people have a lot of confidence in it,” said St. Lawrence County Treasurer Renee Cole.

The new union contract signed at Alcoa paying out $800,000 in contract-signing bonuses also helped.

There has been a three-year run of increases in county-wide sales tax collections. This year, they're projected to break the $61 million mark. That's also helping the county hold the line on property taxes.

“Certainly on the county end of it they help cover some of the costs of the new mandates that have been generated out of Albany,” said Kevin Acres, St. Lawrence County legislator.

Acres said the increased sales tax collections are one factor in keeping property taxes flat for the coming year. They have also helped in building up the county’s fund balance.

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