Treasurer: Gas prices fueling sales tax revenue increase
Genesee County sales tax revenue is trending in the right direction, County Treasurer Scott German said on Wednesday afternoon.
“Sales tax revenue is doing well,” said German, speaking at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.
Supported by Excel spreadsheets showing fund balances and tax revenues over the past 15 years or more, German reported that sales tax revenues in 2021 totaled $48.95 million, an increase of approximately 19 percent from the previous year.
As for the first quarter of 2022, sales tax revenues are up by 31 percent from the same time period in 2021.
“Much of that can be attributed to the increased gas prices,” German said, noting that sales tax on gasoline accounts for about 18 percent of the county’s sales tax revenue. It also must be noted that sales tax revenue was down in 2020 and 2021 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county shared $6,852,960.75 (14 percent) of its sales tax received with the City of Batavia and $5 million – as a voluntary revenue distribution – with the towns and villages last year, as well as an additional $5 million in sales tax to the towns and villages.
Bed tax revenues (from hotel stays) rebounded from the COVID-19 ravaged 2020, German said, increasing from $180,000 to almost $400,000. Three-fourths of that amount was allocated to the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
Mortgage tax revenue also increased by 38 percent from 2020 to 2021, he reported.
German said key points of his financial outlook are as follows:
- As part of the $70 million jail borrowing, the County maintained a bond rating of AA- with a stable outlook from S&P Rating Agency.
However, he noted, the rating could have been higher if not for the county’s low per capita income level.
- The county’s self-insurance (medical) reserve has grown for two straight years, increasing by $385,498 in 2021 to a total of $1.8 million.
- The county received approximately $5.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding in 2021 and another $5.5 million payment is scheduled for 2022.
Looking at the county’s fund balances, German said the general fund balance of $16.9 million represents 14 percent – “a good number,” he said – of 2021’s budgeted expense.
Other fund balances, such as self-insurance ($1.8 million), county road ($385,000), road machinery ($574,000) and water fund ($4.2 million), are adequate, he said.
On the real property tax side, Director Kevin Andrews said sales of property has increased by 11 percent in 2021 – up from 6 percent the previous year.
Andrews said the county supported reassessment projects in the City of Batavia and the Towns of Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Byron, Darien, Elba, Oakfield, Pembroke, and Stafford for the 2021 assessment rolls.