By Beacon Staff
BELLE FOURCHE – City sales tax figures continue to reflect strong economic activity in the community for 2021, but some say the numbers may not last past this year.
According to city finance office figures a September monthly record $423,633.95 was collected. That was the best September on record by far and follows a record collection of more than half a million dollars taken in during July, an all-time high monthly total.
The yearly total through nine months shows $2,846,870.42 in sales taxes collected. With fourth quarter figures yet to come in, that total surpasses the yearly total in 2016, 2017 and matches the 2018 annual figure. With a monthly average in 2021 of $316,318 the city is on pace to set a record for sales tax collection if the trend continues. The holiday season is coming up and October and November are strong retail months, however supply chain issues could be a drag on economic activity.
The September total is 57% ahead of last year and set a September monthly all-time record by more than $144,000. Year-to-date collection is 19% ahead of last year.
Third penny sales tax also set a September record at $32,363.19 and is the second-highest monthly total on record. July 2021 set the bar with $36,842.70 added to city coffers. Third penny tax generally reflects tourism and visitor/ resident activity as the tax is collected on hotel stays, alcohol and dining. The September figure was a whopping 73% higher than last year’s pandemic affected number and collections are running 30% ahead of last year. With the fourth quarter yet to go the third penny collections are also expected to reflect record-levels as the 2021 yearly total matches 2017’s yearly total and is just $11,000 short of 2019’s high-water mark.
As the city is in the midst of budget planning right now Breanna Schaefer, Finance Officer, cautions that the trend may not continue, in light of all the pandemic-related stimulus spending among residents and local government entities.
“One thing I keep trying to remind people is that we’ve had a lot of stimulus funding, people have had cabin fever, those factors ramped things up quite a bit,” she said. “It’s great while we’ve got it for sure, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to sustain those numbers after this year.”