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Area counties are above state average for sales tax revenue

TRI-COUNTY AREA—Over all, the state experienced a 10.8 percent decline in sales tax revenue during the second quarter of 2009.  However, the counties of Yates, Steuben, and Schuyler all fared better than that.  In fact, Schuyler County was one of the top six counties in the state with a gain in the second quarter.
Comparing the second quarter last year to the second quarter this year, Yates dropped 1.82 percent.  According to Tom Bergin, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, this year Yates made $2,163,223 from April to June and $2,203,333 last year during the same time.
“Compared to others it’s not that bad,” he said.
In Schuyler County, the sales tax revenue increased by .77 percent.  The revenue was $1,978,358 in this year’s second quarter compared to the second quarter last year with $1,963,234.  Schuyler was one of only eight counties to see an increase.
Bergin said that Steuben saw a 4.01 percent decrease.  The sales tax revenue in 2008’s second quarter was $10,004,217 and $9,603,139 in 2009.
“When compared to all other counties, for the most part very few have positive numbers,” said Bergin.
However, another area with positive numbers is the sales tax revenue year to date.  Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy said comparing the first six months of last year and this year there is a one percent increase.  The numbers were $4,118,075.52 for 2009 and $4,071,528.52 for 2008.  She added that while there was a slight increase from 2008 to 2009, the county is still down from 2007, which was $4,181,100.60.
Purdy said it was too early to asses this year’s tourism season or say if it is doing well.
Schuyler County also saw an increase of 10.3 percent in the first six months.  O’Hearn attributes the increases to two factors: the Harbor Hotel and Main Street revitalization.  He said just walking down the street he has seen an increase in foot traffic.  He added it could be people choosing to visit places closer to home or that Schuyler is offering an affordable getaway.
O’Hearn said the county was prepared to make cuts if necessary to make up for a bad second quarter in sales tax revenue numbers.
“The only option is programs because the budget is so lean,” he said.  

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