Sales tax receipts show unexpected strength

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Grocery store sales offset economic downturn in municipalities

Sales tax receipts reaching local towns and government entities in June were expected to show the effects of shuttered businesses with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) shutdown.

Quarterly payments and sales that took place in April, paid to the state in May and distributed in June, showed big gains.

Area towns with Walmarts saw double digit jumps over last June: Cassville up 16 percent, Monett up 10 percent, Aurora up 11 percent and Mt. Vernon up 12 percent. Some towns were up even more: Purdy up 37 percent, Pierce City up 22 percent, Seligman up 23 percent, Miller up 30 percent and Marionville up 57 percent. The only towns showing declines were towns without grocery stores: Verona and Exeter. Use tax receipts capturing revenue from online sales also showed sizable increases.

The seven Barry County cities receiving sales tax took in $782,106.47, up 12.5 percent from a year ago. Every city but Exeter topped last June’s numbers, which were up 16 percent from 2018.

Cassville’s 1 percent sales tax for paying general bills generated $100,863.58, up $14,263.47 from last June. That raised the 2020 total to $504,882.77, up 5 percent from a year ago.

Seligman’s 1 percent tax took in $11,259.46 for its general fund, up $2,126.86 from last June. That put Seligman’s general fund total at $57,315.93 for 2020, up 7 percent.

Washburn’s 1 percent general fund sales tax produced $4,250.30, up $776.52 from a year ago, putting its 2020 sum at $15,726.65, up 16 percent from last year’s pace.

Wheaton’s erratic 1 percent sales tax generated $6,199.12, up $1,128.97. That put Wheaton’s general fund sum for 2020 at $38,684.18, up 82 percent from a year ago. Wheaton’s .5 percent tax, which should produce half of the 1 percent, produced 41 percent in June. Its 2020 total of $12,287.27 nonetheless showed growth of 60 percent over a year ago.

Exeter stood in contrast to the other gains, receiving $1,281.02 from its 1 percent tax for its general fund, a drop of $788.57, down 38 percent from last June. That placed the city’s general fund total halfway through 2020 at $10,418.75, down 11 percent compared to a year ago.

Purdy, which lost its grocery store in March, hung onto its local sales tax. The city’s 1 percent sales tax supporting the general fund generated $6,146.84 in June, up $1,659.49 from a year ago. Clerk Debbie Redshaw suggested the local Dollar General store has picked up the slack in keeping the sales tax rolling in.

Purdy’s fiscal year concluded in June with $70,430.74 in the general fund, up a little over $1,000 from previous year, the best sum in the last four years. For the first half of 2020, Purdy’s general fund total of $35,913.28 is up 2.5 percent over the start of 2019.

Monett had the largest June sales tax total since 2007, before the last economic downturn. The city’s two sales taxes totaling 1 percent for the city’s general fund generated $218,549.74, nearly $40,000 less than the June 2007 sum but up $19,718.84 from last June. That pushed the three-month fiscal year sum to $539,110.36, up $28,000 or more than 5 percent from a year ago.

For the calendar year, Monett’s sales tax for paying general bills has reached $1,042,227.07, up 3 percent from last year’s pace.

Countywide sales taxes reflected the same kind of overall gains seen by the cities.

Barry County’s two .5 percent sales taxes produced $203,648 apiece, up more than $17,131 or 9 percent, from a year ago. The general fund total of the first half of 2020 reached $1,081,690.47, up 6 percent from the beginning of 2019.

County numbers weren’t entirely rosy. Barry County Treasurer Lois Lowe reported revenues from gasoline taxes were “way down,” reflecting the decrease in driving following the shutdown.

Sales taxes supporting countywide 911 and central dispatching services, benefitted from the upward pattern. Barry County’s .375 percent tax received $152,727.80, up $12,985.31 from a year ago. That put the county’s total for the first half of 2020 at $811,139.34, up 6 percent from a year ago.

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