Fri, May 24

Verde Valley October sales tax report positive
Camp Verde's tax increase has kicked in and helping

VERDE VALLEY - Camp Verde was the last of the towns among Cottonwood, Jerome and Clarkdale to raise its sales tax. In May the town council voted to raise its local sales tax by 1 percent. The increase became effective Aug. 1, and sales tax collections are now showing the increase on the Arizona Department of Revenue's monthly reports.

But even including the tax increase, Camp Verde's sales tax collections for October were well up over the additional 1 percent. In retail sales tax, Camp Verde climbed from $52,653 for last October to $75,550 for this October.

The total tax collection and year-to-date categories for Camp Verde also show significant increases.

"It was a good positive for us," said Camp Verde Finance Director Mike Showers, "because September was not quite up to par."

He said that October went nearly $20,000 over budget. "We almost completely made up for September."

Showers said he is still seeing some confusion by businesses on what tax line they are supposed to use, or they are collecting the wrong amount.

"It's a little difficult to see which part of our sales tax report was due to new revenue," he said.

"I'm anxiously waiting to see November's numbers," he said. "I'm spending a lot of time studying the sales tax reports."

Clarkdale also showed good increases over the same month last year, especially in its year-to-date collections.

Retail sales tax for Clarkdale went up to $3,748 for October compared with $2,976 last year.

Jerome also saw increases in retail sales tax from $20,788 last October to $25,768 this year. The town's categories for total collections and year-to-date revenue also were up.

Cottonwood had a good increase in year-to-date collections, but the town dropped somewhat in the retail and total tax revenue categories. Retail collections dropped from $590,890 last October to $581,231 this year.

Lana Tolleson, president and CEO of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, said she hasn't heard any specific reports yet about how the Christmas shopping season is going.

"I know that the parade and Chocolate Walk were very positive for Old Town merchants," she said. "Being the first day of the month helped."

She explained that Lonely Planet picked the Verde Valley as one of the top 10 locations in the United States for travel in 2013.

"We're actually number nine on their top 10," she said.

"Specifically, they mentioned Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona and the Verde Valley Wine Trail."

Tolleson said the announcement will stay on the Lonely Planet website for all of 2013.

"CNN did an exclusive report (Wednesday) morning reporting on the Lonely Planet list," she said.

"We've got the tourism people in the state talking about coming here," Tolleson said. "We're beginning to see more groups because of the publicity we're getting."