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Sales tax revenue up not only statewide but locally as well

By HILARY LANE

MOHAWK VALLEY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Increases in sales tax revenue all across the board for Oneida, Herkimer, and Otsego Counties demonstrate shoppers are gaining more confidence and infusing more money into the local economy.

In Herkimer County, the sales tax numbers in 2011 were $27.5 million compared to $27.1 million in 2010. The tax revenue increased by $400,000 from 2010 to 2011.

In Otsego County, in 2010 sales revenue tax brought in $32.1 million dollars in 2011, that number jumped to $33.7 million for a $1.6 million dollar increase.

In Oneida County, sales tax revenue totaled $62.1 million for the first three quarters of 2011 compared to $60.8 million for the first three quarters of 2010. The sales tax revenue increased $1.2 million dollars from 2010 to 2011.

Oneida County Comptroller Joseph Timpano says the sales tax revenue for 2011 is on target to surpass the budgeted amount for the year. He attributes the boost to increased sales at local retail stores.

At Jay-K Lumber in New Hartford, President Dean Kelly says customers are beginning to feel secure in their financial state and are now confident enough to begin improvement projects they've been putting off for the past few years.

"So we are seeing more people coming in for estimates and looking around the store to see what they can buy new window remodeling projects, bathrooms, kitchens, things of those nature," says Kelly.

While retail stores in Oneida County are contributing to the increase in sales tax collected, Administrator James Wallace says its gas sales that are driving up revenue in Herkimer County.

"So the price of gas is going high and staying high but also we are seeing the gallonage go up," says Wallace. "We have always been a little bit more expensive than Oneida County but what we have seen over the last several months is the prices in the valley cheaper than Oneida County."

Whether people are filling up their tanks or filling up their shopping carts, the increased sales tax revenue is a refreshing sign the economy is slowly recovering.

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