Sales tax collections back on track

NORWICH – Sales tax collections in Chenango County flowed back to regular levels in March, despite the nation’s faltering economy. First quarter results were only $32 down from the same period in 2008.

The slight loss was surprisingly far less than financial leaders had anticipated, said Chenango County Treasurer William B. Evans. The county was poised to lose $409,000 based on sales tax collections from January and February.

Evans said at the time that the nearly 6 percent drop was tentative and could be the result of a posting error. No errors were found, however. The treasurer suggested the amount could have been caught up in the state’s fiscal year-end reporting process.

“Uncharacteristic flows happen at the end of the state’s fiscal year from time to time,” he said.

Across the state, 36 counties are seeing reductions in sales tax revenue, 10 of them with declines of 8 percent or more, according to the New York State Association of Counties, an advocacy group in Albany.

“We are trending outside of the norm from what’s being seen statewide,” said Evans. Chenango County tends to lag behind the rest of the state when collections are headed down, but lags also when coming back out of recessions, he said.

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