Feb. 13—PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County's sales tax numbers finished 2023 strong.
At year's end, the county's sales tax revenue totaled $52,872,874 — an impressive $10,651,598 higher than they had projected.
In comparison to 2022, the county saw a $2,879,864 increase in sales tax revenues as well.
This was a likely unsurprising result since the county saw its sales tax revenues increase each month in 2023.
"I don't think it's any secret that ... sales tax for 2023 was quite positive and exceeded our projections," County Administrator Michael Zurlo said at the legislature's last finance meeting.
This result is good news for the municipalities that Clinton County shares a portion of its sales tax revenues with annually.
Heading into 2023, the county projected to bring in $14,054,920 to share with the municipalities, but instead took in $16,918,179.
Zurlo said these yearly allocations contribute to the county's conservative projections for sales tax revenue each year.
"We do our very best to come up with a number that is somewhat conservative so that we don't have to hold the towns' credits at bay if we don't meet our projections," he said.
"It's our biggest revenue source — bigger than our tax levy — but we try to be a little conservative, such that we don't have to charge the towns back or hold their payments back to us in escrow."
Despite 2023's good showing, Zurlo cautioned against expecting a similar result next year or any other year.
"The one thing I will say is this was a good year," Zurlo said.
"But they (towns) should never use this (allocation) as a revenue in their budget. They should not assume that what you're hearing about tonight is going to happen each year."
However, the county did increase sales tax projections in its 2024 budget.
"Although our increase was not at the level that we received in 2023," Zurlo said. "We don't use one year's receipts as the baseline ..."
While sales tax revenues did well in 2023, occupancy tax revenues saw a bit of a dip toward the end of the year, county Treasurer Kimberly Davis said.
"The fourth quarter had a decrease of 19%," she said.
"I'm not in the hospitality industry, so I don't know why that happened."
Despite the decreased figures, Zurlo was not discouraged.
"I will say it did not hit the record levels of 2022, but it was still, I would say, a very lucrative year in the hospitality industry," he said. "The numbers, while lower, are still very strong."
This coming year seems more promising for the county's occupancy tax numbers as well.
With the solar eclipse coming up on April 8, and Plattsburgh being in its path of totality, Davis expects to see a considerable jump.
"I will bring out my crystal ball, because I think ... the second quarter of 2024 will be way ahead of 2023, because of the solar eclipse," she said.
"Every hotel room in the region, not just our county, is reserved. So hopefully that will also help out Airbnb as well as the hotels."