Though the county's collection of its 1-cent sales tax has not dropped, the county's finance director said she is concerned that the money did not come in as strongly as expected.
The county's collection of 1-cent sales tax in 2003 ended up being nearly $11.3 million, a 5.97 percent increase over the year before.
The county actually expected, and budgeted for, an 8 percent increase last year, said Leanne DeLoach, the county's finance division director. She said that robust collections early in the year helped offset a lackluster December check.
"December was an awful month for auto sales," Columbia County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross said during last week's Management and Financial Services committee meeting.
The amount of money coming into the county annually through the voter-approved penny tax has increased every since 1997. But some years have shown as much growth as others.
Between 1999 and 2000, collections jumped 7.17. percent. Between 2001 and 2002, they increased 9.77 percent.
Sales growth was weak for 2001 when the collections increased only 2.96 percent over the year before.
County officials did point to the fact that collections have steadily grown.
Actual collections are now nearly $7.6 million more than the forecast for projects funded in the first phase of the current local sales tax round, which runs from 2001 to 2005. A number of projects in the second tier of projects, including the restoration of canal headgate buildings, will see money - but not all the original projects on the county's tier two list are expected to be funded.
Voters will decide in July whether to extend the 1-cent sales tax collections for another five years between 2006 and 2010. County commissioners soon will start debating what projects to put on the referendum ballot.
Special purpose local option sales tax collections for Columbia County:
Year.......Amount.....Increase over previous year
Source: Columbia County Finance Division
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.