Sat, April 04

Mixed reviews on March Verde Valley sales tax
Statewide sales tax up by 8.5 percent over last March

VERDE VALLEY - A byline story by Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services reports that Arizona's sales tax revenue for March was up 8.5 percent over the same month last year. According to Fischer, figures released by the Arizona Department of Revenue show that the total revenue in March from all categories of sales tax was $3.77 billion, up from $3.48 billion in March 2010.

In the Verde Valley, those encouraging results in overall taxes for March are reflected in Clarkdale and Jerome. Clarkdale collected $67,358 in total sales tax for March, an increase from the $52,031 collected in 2010.

Clarkdale Financial Director Kathy Bainbridge said the majority of the increase came from construction tax. "Our construction tax was up $11,000 by itself from last year."

Bainbridge said the town had two large construction projects. One was the water main project in Lower Clarkdale. "That was a very large project," she said. The other construction project was earlier in the year and was for sewer lines.

In addition to the construction projects adding to the total sales tax revenue increase for March was a $6,000 jump in the tax category for Wholesale Trade. Bainbridge said she was not able to isolate exactly what was included under that tax category.

The construction tax bump should continue at least for April, according to Bainbridge. The work on the water mains was finished at the end of April and will be reflected in the April sales tax figures.

Jerome took in a total of $50,586 for all sales tax categories in March. That is up from $45,494 for the same month last year.

Camp Verde also was up in March in total sales tax revenue with $161,387. But that increase from last year's $158,570 does not match the 8.5 percent increase statewide.

Camp Verde Finance Director Melissa Preston isn't ready to make any predictions of a trend based on the March sales tax report.

"I think it's too soon to know," Preston said. She said that the February to March jump in tax revenue seems to be a pattern.

"It's a good sign," she said. "If it represents a trend - I hope so."

Cottonwood's total sales tax revenue for March 2011 dropped to $826,244 from $843,020 last year. Retail sales tax for March in Cottonwood also dropped from $539,711 in 2010 to $534,685 in 2011.

Other Verde Valley communities did better in retail sales tax collections for March. Camp Verde took in $74,698, a nice jump from $66,690 for the same month last year.

"Things are looking good," Preston said. "It's hard to know what's going to happen." She said that for now, people just hope for the best and see how it's going.

Clarkdale also showed an increase in March retail tax revenue increasing from $2,836 last year to $3,160 this year. And Jerome turned in a nice increase in March's retail sales tax revenue with $18,455 collected compared with $15,712 last year.

In the year-to-date category for all sales taxes collected through March, Cottonwood and Camp Verde are both down from March last year. Cottonwood dropped from $7,997,895 in 2010 to $7,665,392 for the same period in 2011. Camp Verde dropped to $1,314,939 in 2011 from $1,526,970 in 2010.

Clarkdale and Jerome both saw a nice increase in the year-to-date total sales tax collections through March. Clarkdale climbed to $523,039 this year from $446,040 last year. Jerome made a good jump from $360,204 in 2010 to $428,512 in 2011.

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