PLATTSBURGH — Sales-tax revenue for Clinton County is way ahead of pace so far this year, much to the delight of county officials."This is just great. I hope it continues," County Treasurer Joseph Giroux said.Sales-tax revenue generated within the county is distributed to the City of Plattsburgh, the towns, villages and the county based on population.Through March, the county's share of sales-tax revenue was $4,806,829, up $770,820 from projections.Revenue shared by the towns and villages in the county was $2,075,907, an increase of $340,297 over projections.The City of Plattsburgh's portion was $639,472, which is $104,645 over projections.Giroux said the county's portion is about $500,000 ahead of last year's pace."Usually, this time of year it's slower, and then it picks up in the summer with the tourism season, but it's not slow this year," Giroux said.Although details of sales cannot be tracked specifically, Giroux said it appears that the increase can be attributed to big-ticket items.New home sales, automobiles, appliances and construction materials all keep moving, he said.The rise in gasoline prices has also probably played a role in the increase.Another factor is last year's increase in the sales tax itself, from 73/4 percent to 8 percent."People are buying, and they're buying the good stuff," Giroux said.Money gleaned from sales tax goes directly into the budgets of the municipalities."This is a good way to solve some of the property-tax issues we've been having," Giroux said.City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak said the increase in sales-tax revenue will help with the city's budget."Any news that sales-tax revenue is increasing is absolutely good news for the residents of the city," he said."We hope that the figures meet and exceed projections the rest of the year."The city was forced to raise its tax levy by 35 percent for 2006 and was looking at a similar increase for 2007.City councilors trimmed the tax hike this year to 14.35 percent by cutting about $1 million from the budget. The city still faces about a $1 million shortfall in its fund balance."More sales-tax funds will take some of the pressure off, but we will continue to watch every dollar very closely," Kasprzak said.
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