August 13, 2013

Clinton County sales tax still well ahead of pace


PLATTSBURGH — Sales-tax revenue for Clinton County dropped a bit in July but continues to be well ahead of pace.

“I think all the rain we had certainly had something to do with the numbers being a little lower, but we are still ahead,” County Treasurer Joseph Giroux told legislators at the recent Finance Committee meeting.

The county remains $2,227,139 ahead of projections for the year. It was up $2,824,602 at the end of June.

Last year at this time, the county had about $1.6 million more than predicted.


While numbers this July were still considered good, they could have been better, legislators said.

Heavy rains in the early part of the month, including a deluge on the Fourth of July holiday, may have kept people away from stores, restaurants and hotel stays, according to Finance Committee Chairwoman Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattburgh).

“I know the Canadians did not come down as much when it was raining,” she said, adding that several local hotel managers told her at a recent Strategic Tourism Committee meeting that numbers were down in July because of the rain.

“If people are thinking of traveling here from not that far away and they see a bad forecast, they might not come,” she said.

“It affects their travel plans.”


The county has budgeted $34,165,001 in sales-tax revenue for this year. Last year, the total was about $33.4 million, around $1 million over projections.

The county has realized great success in sales-tax revenue the past decade, failing to meet projections only in 2009 as the recession deepened.

Rowden said the legislature watches sales-tax numbers closely.

“You have to be a little conservative because you are not always sure there is going to be a windfall, but we like what we’ve seen so far,” she said.

Sales-tax revenue is divided between the county, the towns and villages, and the City of Plattsburgh.

The city, which is the largest municipality in the county, is ahead of sales-tax projections by about $305,000 so far this year.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak said the revenue will definitely help.

“While I am pleased with this increase, it is still early in the budget year,” he said.

“We will certainly need a large increase by year end to assist us with some possible deficits in 2014 due to retirement, health-care and personnel cost increases.”

Email Joe