By Erinn Cain, staff writer Messenger Post
Canandaigua, N.Y. — The amount of sales tax revenue collected by Ontario County has been on the rise since mid-2010, and the recent report of collections for the fourth quarter of 2012 continues that trend.
Ontario County’s portion of sales tax collected in the fourth quarter of 2012 rose 6.34 percent from the same quarter in 2011, from $9,975,946 to $10,607,928, said Ontario County Director of Finance Catherine Bentzoni. The county’s portion of sales tax collected for the entire year went up from $38,470,987 in 2011 to $40,580,170 in 2012, an increase of 5.48.
“The increase seems to continue a trend of sales tax increasing every quarter since July 2010,” said County Administrator John Garvey. “We are hopeful the trend will continue. It’s all part of the economic well-being of the county.”
Sales tax is the second largest source of revenue for the county, said Bentzoni, behind the property tax levy.
“It’s a major source of funding for all county government programs,” Garvey said. “There’s been a desire to keep property taxes stable. Sales tax increases generally help that. Sales tax is a major component of revenue for the county.”
Jack Marren, Victor supervisor and chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors, said the rise in sales tax revenue is, in part, due to the attraction of Eastview Mall and the surrounding shopping area to shoppers traveling there from outside Ontario County.
“Sales tax revenue is not attributable to just Ontario County spenders,” he said. “We benefit from the mall and its proximity to Monroe County.”
Although he can’t predict if the trend will continue, Garvey said, the rise in sales tax revenue is a positive sign for the county’s economy.
“I wish we could predict the future, but we can be hopeful,” he said. “I think there’s economic strength, but it’s still fragile.”
Marren agreed, adding, “we still like to budget conservatively.”