Grand Forks sales tax collections 2nd highest ever
Grand Forks' latest sales tax numbers, released Wednesday, showed the second-highest collection totals for any month. The February report reflects collections from December and total $2.016 million, compared to the collections of $2.022 million f...
Grand Forks' latest sales tax numbers, released Wednesday, showed the second-highest collection totals for any month.
The February report reflects collections from December and total $2.016 million, compared to the collections of $2.022 million from the same month a year ago, the highest month.
City Budget Officer Maureen Storstad said she sees sustained growth in the numbers.
"I think overall we've reached a new plateau," she said. "It seems like the higher numbers are normal now."
Sales tax collections for December likely include most of the holiday spending for 2011.
"I'm sure our weather helped," Storstad said, referring to the mild winter.
Totals and can vary widely from month to month, not because of actual spending during the month but because of when businesses report their sales, Storstad said.
Looking at 12-month periods, she sees stronger growth over the past year compared to prior years.
Total collections in the past year were $17.7 million, an increase of $507,000 or 2.9 percent over the previous year and $2.4 million or 15.7 percent over the annual total five years ago, according to a Finance Department report. Inflation in the Midwest over the past year was 2.8 percent and over the past five years was 11.5 percent.
Storstad said that the monthly average collections were $1.69 million in the second half of 2011, compared to $1.3 million in the first half.
"You can see how we're steadily climbing while in 2009 to 2010 we were just kind of holding steady," she said.
The numbers suggested that the Grand Forks area was becoming more of a retail destination, she said.
Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Julie Rygg said the holiday shopping season was likely boosted by more out-of-town visitors. Hotel occupancy rates in the metro area were 61.3 percent in December, compared to 52 percent in December 2010.
Canadian shoppers are usually a large part of that spending, she said.
"In any survey we've done on Canadian visitors, shopping and weekend getaways are always the biggest reasons," Rygg said.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but it seems like maybe we're seeing a little growth," Storstad said.
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