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October 29, 2012

Sept. Clinton Co. sales tax $1 mil over projections

Clinton Co. $1 million over estimate, thanks to Canadians

PLATTSBURGH — Sales-tax revenue for Clinton County saw a boost of about $1 million over September projections.

That puts the year’s total at about $3.4 million ahead of pace.

“It’s been going up every month, and September was amazing,” County Treasurer Joseph Giroux said.

Although details of where all the sales are coming from have yet to be finalized, preliminary reports show that sales of new cars is up slightly. But the bulk of the increase comes from retail sales, indicating a strong Canadian customer presence.

“They (Canadians) are here, and they are shopping, and they are spending,” Giroux said.

“It especially helps that the dollar is about at par.”

‘HUGE IMPACT’

The county gets 4 of the 8 percent sales tax on items purchased, sharing some of it with its towns, and the state gets the other 4 percent.

Giroux said revenue from the county’s 3-percent occupancy tax is also way up, but figures have not yet been updated.

“But we do know it is way up,” he said.

Businesses are reporting large volumes of Canadian customers visiting throughout the summer and into the fall.

“The impact has been huge,” said Steve Carpenter, owner of Liquor and Wine Warehouse in Plattsburgh.

“It’s the most Canadians I’ve ever seen down here, and I’ve been in business 37 years.”

Carpenter said Canadian customers find prices less expensive here than in Montreal.

“When their money is at par with ours, it’s a real bargain for them to come down here.”

ON THE CUSP?

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the chamber’s aggressive marketing efforts in Canada are paying off.

“It has long been our goal to market more aggressively, and now more than ever it remains our goal,” he said.

The increase in Canadian retail traffic could possibly lead to even greater things as businesses north of the border, hopefully, will see the North Country as fertile ground for investment, Douglas said.

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