Fulton County sales tax stable

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County’s overall sales tax receipts rose by only a slight $23,516 for the second quarter, which follows a state trend.

But the local Walmart Supercenter sales tax “effect” continues positively for Gloversville and negatively for the towns, a county official said.

County Treasurer Terry Blodgett on Friday released second quarter sales tax figures that showed Gloversville’s receipts for the quarter increased by $122,441 compared to the second quarter of 2013. The city’s sales tax increased from $729,161 for the second quarter of 2013 to $851,602 for the second quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, overall sales tax for Fulton County’s towns and villages decreased by more than $91,000 in the second quarter, from $1.58 million to $1.49 million.

Blodgett said much of those city and town results can still be directly attributed to the opening of the Walmart Supercenter on South Kingsboro Avenue Extension in Gloversville a year ago. The 157,100-square-foot store on South Kingsboro Avenue Extension opened Aug. 14.

Walmart moved from a smaller store in the town of Johnstown to Gloversville last summer. The towns and villages in Fulton County share sales tax revenue outside the two cities. Now that Walmart has moved its store to Gloversville, the towns won’t see revenue previously brought in from the town of Johnstown store.

Previously, Fulton County saw sales tax increases of $72,527 for the fourth quarter of 2013 and more than $400,000 for the third quarter of 2013.

Blodgett said the Walmart “effect” will likely continue for several sales tax cycles.

The total portion of sales tax revenue the county claims for itself increased by $114,589 for the second quarter – from $3.18 million a year to $3.29 million.

The city of Johnstown’s sales tax rose by $83,217 for the second quarter, from $865,023 to $948,240.

Overall, Blodgett said Fulton County’s second quarter sales tax was $4.79 million, which rose $23,516 from the second quarter of 2013. He said the amount of jump, although only about 1.7 percent, is nevertheless positive.

“There are a lot of counties going in the other direction,” Blodgett said. “We’re still going in the right direction.”

The county treasurer said the hail storm that went through the area in May also may have reflected positively on sales tax. Blodgett said when such weather-related incidents occur, building material companies and vehicle repair outlets do better business.

The New York State Association of Counties recently issued a news release, which Blodgett said illustrates sales tax problems other counties are having.

The release indicated total collections for counties – outside of New York City – are basically flat for the first six months of 2014. NYSAC said the average percentage change in each county was 0.01 percent. In the second quarter, 10 counties had negative growth. In the first quarter of 2014 and the last quarter of 2013, 27 counties had negative growth, so NYSAC said the latest numbers show some improvement.

Overall, 37 counties (65 percent of the state’s counties) have experienced negative sales tax growth in one of the last three quarters, NYSAC said.

“Sales tax revenue is crucial to counties, as it is one of only a handful of revenue sources available,” NYSAC President Mark Alger said in the release. “The state must make an ongoing commitment to targeted mandate relief in health and human programs and relieve the burden on local taxpayers.”