May 14—WATERTOWN — Sales tax revenue for April in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties rose more than 50% over April 2020, the first full month of an economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the first four months of 2021 — January through April — revenue is also up double digit percentages in each county, according to information provided by state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
In Jefferson County, revenues in April rose $2.5 million, or 58.9%, over the same month in 2020, going from $4.3 million in April 2020 to $6.8 million this April. St. Lawrence County experienced a $1.8 million, or 50%, increase this April compared to last April, rising from $3.6 million in 2020 to $5.4 million this year. Lewis County realized a $400,000, or 55.7%, increase in revenue in April, going from $700,000 in April 2020 to $1.1 million this year.
Despite the year-over-year increases in April, sales tax revenue in each county was down considerably from those seen in March. In March, Jefferson County saw revenue of $9.5 million, while St. Lawrence and Lewis counties had realized $6.9 million and $1.9 million, respectively.
Revenue for the first three months of 2021, however, still exceeds revenue over the same period last year. Through April 2020, Jefferson County had realized $22.6 million in revenue, an amount which has risen to $27.1 million this year, a 20% increase. St. Lawrence County revenue rose from $18.2 million through April 2020 to $21.3 million through April 2021, a 17.2% increase, while Lewis County's revenue rose 18.8% this April, going from $3.7 million last year to $4.5 million this year.
Oswego County has experienced a dip in sales tax revenue, both in April's numbers and year-to-date figures. In the first four months of 2020, the county realized $14.3 million in revenue, but that total has declined slightly to $14 million this year, a 2.6% decrease. In April, revenue dropped 13.7%, or $400,000, going from $2.8 million in April 2020 to $2.4 million this April.
Oswego County was the only county in the state that saw its sales tax revenue drop in April compared to April 2020.
Statewide, sales tax receipts in April were up 45.7% over the same month a year ago, totaling $1.5 billion this year versus $464 million last year.
Mr. DiNapoli acknowledged in a prepared statement that much of the percentage growth in sales tax revenue during April reflected "extremely weak collections" in April 2020, when many businesses were closed.
"The strong collections in April show that the economy is gaining steam, thanks in part to federal aid, more lifts in restrictions and a climb in the vaccination rates," Mr. DiNapoli said. "However, local governments must monitor changing economic conditions and continue to be vigilant when it comes to their finances."