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Sales tax revenues inch up in Geneva

GENEVA – Bit by bit, month by month, Geneva officials have watched the city’s sales tax revenue inch its way upward, according to the city’s end-of-the-year sales tax revenue report.

The sales tax dropped to $4.3 million in fiscal year 2009-10 during the heart of the country’s recession. It made steady gains and is now projected to be at nearly $4.7 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The projection is $21,237 more than last year’s revenue, according to the sales tax report.

Geneva Finance Manager Thomas Dahl said even with stores closing, such as the five Merra-Lee Shops late last year, sales tax revenues continued to rise.

“We have seen a very nice increase month to month,” Dahl said. “We are looking forward to keeping that upward trend.”

Cities get sales tax revenue in January from sales in October, in February for November and in March for December. Dahl said officials are particularly interested in seeing the trend continue from sales during the current Christmas shopping season.

“It means a lot to the city,” Dahl said. “It takes a burden off to have that nice sales tax bump every month.”

Dahl said the sales tax trend shows an economic recovery in progress.

“When you look at the region and see that trend – that is most definite,” Dahl said of economic recovery. “The first couple months we saw it, we thought, ‘That is nice.’ But it’s been continuing ever since the fiscal year started. Things are getting better in Geneva and probably in the area.”

The city’s monthly sales tax allocation ranges from a low of almost $344,000 from February sales to a high of almost $424,000 from June sales, records show.

The city also receives a half-percent sales tax. It was approved by voters and went into effect in 2008.

According to records, the city received about $1.8 million in fiscal year 2010-11, slightly more than $2 million in 2011-12 and so far this year, $1.4 million.

Assistant City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said they first thought the trend was an anomaly, but when it continued, officials realized things were getting better.

It also reinforces the philosophy of shopping locally, she said.

“It bodes well,” Dawkins said. “That sales tax comes right back to the city, and it keeps going around and around. People who live here, work here and buy here – it’s good for the community.”

Geneva sales tax revenue history per fiscal year:

• $5.2 million - 2005-06

• $5.4 million - 2006-07

• $5.1 million - 2007-08

• $4.7 million - 2008-09

• $4.3 million - 2009-10

• $4.5 million - 2010-11

• $4.7 million - 2011-12

• $4.7 million projected - 2012-13 *

* A projected increase of $21,237

Source: City of Geneva

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