Jul. 12—PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County's sales-tax numbers are about $5.6 million ahead of budget projections.
Without knowing how the COVID-19 pandemic would continue to impact its primary revenue source, the legislature had approved a 2021 budget that included an 8.5 percent reduction in those estimates.
"The numbers are great and that's due to us being conservative," Clinton County Treasurer Kimberly Davis said. "We did not know what was going to happen."
AHEAD OF 2019
Deputy County Treasurer Rebecca Murphy noted that this year's cumulative sales-tax numbers are ahead of last year's by 19%, adding that the county really took a hit during the second quarter of 2020.
But there appears to be a rebound in that revenue stream even outside the conservative budgeting.
Through the end of June, the county's sales-tax revenues are 15% above the same time period in 2019, Murphy said.
She added that another distribution is set to come down in mid-July.
"That'll be a really good indicator of where we are this year."
During the legislature's Finance Committee meeting Wednesday, Davis suggested that, if sales-tax revenues continue on the current trajectory, the county put some money back into the reserves it tapped into to weather pandemic-related shortfalls.
In an atypical move, the 2021 budget applied $379,967 from the Workers' Compensation Reserve, $368,227 from the Retirement Reserve and $227,026 from the Landfill Reserve.
This week, the Canadian government eased quarantine requirements for vaccinated residents returning to the country.
Davis said it was too soon to tell whether that will result in more Canadians coming to the area — currently, nonessential travelers may fly but not drive into the United States —, thus impacting sales tax.
"The monies we receive are generally weeks and months behind actual sales, so we won't see anything until at least the fall."
The Finance Committee approved resolutions that the legislature will vote on at its regular meeting next week.
One was a contract with Lumsden & McCormick LLP, an auditing firm, to help the county "apply procedures to the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds as defined in the American Rescue Plan Act," Murphy explained.
"They're going to support our oversight and make sure that we comply with the legal, regulatory and other requirements for the funding, because we have a lot of reporting to do for it."
Another contract with cashvest by Pittsford-based company three+one was also approved. The program aims to help municipalities and institutions increase their yields on cash deposits and enhance revenue sources, according to the company's website.
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