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Retail Activity Surprises Oneida County Regarding Sales Tax Revenue

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Sales tax revenue in Oneida county has been surprisingly robust during the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Finance Director Darcy Smith reported to the county Tuesday that all expectations were sales, and by extension, tax revenue, would fall as people stayed home or purchased less. But she reported just the opposite has happened...

"Our 2020 sales tax budget was $4.5 million. During the first six months we've had $2.6 million in collections, which is $220,000 more than 2019, which is really a surprise given that we had businesses shut down for a couple of months..."

Smith says another surprise was the July report. She says there's a two-month lag in sales tax collections, so the numbers from July reflected May sales which was part of the 'Safer-At-Home' time in Wisconsin. She reported collections were at least $52,000 more this year than a year ago same time. She says sales tax revenues will meet or exceed current budget given these trends.

County Board Chair David Hintz says as the county moves into preparing next year's budget that caution should still be advised...

"It is relatively good news compared to where we thought we might be. Obviously we still have a tough budget year coming up. Even if we have a great revenue year it's our job to spend money efficiently..."

Smith also reported a generally favorable income flow for other revenue generating categories.

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