BATAVIA — Genesee County sales tax revenue has been down the second and third quarters this year compared to the second and third quarters of 2019. However, while the county’s $9,050,106 in second-quarter sales tax dollars is 16.83 percent less than what it was at the same time last year, the third quarter (August-October) sales tax revenue of $11,522,785 is only about 4 percent below last year’s third-quarter total.
“We received more in October than we did in September and August, which is typical. It all depends on which month of sales tax collections they’re paying us for, when the sales occur,” said Deputy County Treasurer Kevin Andrews.
Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said the state Department of Tax and Finance uses estimates for distributions initially, then adjustments are made.
“The counties have no control over the method used by the state to distribute sales tax to counties. Reduced spending is seen as a reaction to more conservative spending due to the pandemic,” Stein said. “In addition, the third-quarter sales tax receipts were higher due to businesses opening back up compared to the lockdown during part of the second quarter.”
Asked whether there is any indication of how sales tax in the fourth quarter will compare to the fourth quarter of 2019, Stein said, “We continue to forecast sales tax very conservatively in Genesee County. We anticipate lower than 2019 sales tax revenue due to pandemic business climate.”
Regarding the revenue distribution the county has approved giving the towns and villages for this year, Stein said the county has received the appreciation of the municipalities for a greater-than-expected dollar value for the distribution.
“Towns and villages need information to base budgets on, same as the county does from the state. Providing information to the budget process is part of our partnership relationship,” she said. Stein said towns and villages have concerns about state-mandate aid reductions, withholding of state dollars to local projects/grants and diversion of revenue to support other state responsibilities.