CAPITAL REGION -- Year-over-year sales tax figures released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli show growth throughout the Greater Capital Region for the third quarter, with two exceptions — Gloversville and Schoharie County.
Numbers released by DiNapoli show local sales tax collections in the state totaled $4.8 billion in the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 6.3 percent over the third quarter of 2018. Year-over-year figures for the first three quarters since January totaled $13.5 billion, a 4.3 percent over the same period in 2018.
In the Greater Capital Region all of the counties saw year-over-year increases in sales taxes for the third quarter except Schoharie County, which lost about $100,000 in sales tax, a 0.9 percent decline.
Montgomery County collected $8.8 million, up $700,000 (8.6 percent growth), Schenectady County collected $27 million, up $1.9 million, (7.9 percent growth), Fulton County collected $6.1 million, up $400,000 (6.9 percent growth), Albany County collected $73.4 million, up $4.3 million (6.2 percent growth) and Saratoga County collected $36.1 million (6.2 percent growth).
Strong sales tax in Montgomery County, which benefits from having an I-90 thruway rest stop in Pattersonville near Exit 27 and a truck stop in Fultonville, played a key roll in the county's 2020 budget process. The Montgomery County Legislature cut a proposed property tax levy by $500,000 by projecting more sales tax growth for 2020. The county's budget currently projects $31 million in sales tax revenue for 2020, while the county is on pace to collect at least $32 million for 2019, with $24.3 million collected for the first three quarters, up 5.6 percent from 2018.
"This is certainly good news for our finances but also the city of Amsterdam and the towns county-wide as roughly forty percent of this increase is shared with them," Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said. "This most recent data reflects the positive economic momentum in Montgomery County."
For the Capital District region, which includes Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties, $213.5 million was collected in sales tax for the third quarter, up 7.1 percent from the third quarter in 2018. For the first three quarters of 2019, sales tax growth was a little lower in the Capital District region, with $588.7 million collected, a 4.3 percent year-over-year boost.
Year-over-year sales tax growth for the Mohawk Valley region in the third quarter was 5.9 percent from last year, with $78.1 million collected. Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida and Schoharie counties are included in the Mohawk Valley region. Mohawk Valley sales tax growth for the first three quarters of 2019 was 2.7 percent, with $212.7 million collected.
In Fulton County, the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown have sales tax collections separated from the rest of the towns and villages in the county. Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls also split their sales tax revenue separately from their respective counties. Of the 62 counties in New York state, only 17 cities in 11 counties separate their sales tax receipts from the rest of their county, not counting the five boroughs of New York City, which do not have county governments.
In Gloversville, third-quarter sales tax revenues, about $900,000, dropped 1.7 percent from 2018 when the city collected about $1 million. Gloversville saw an 11.4-percent drop for the first three quarters of 2019, collecting $2.8 million, down about $400,000 from $3.2 million for the same period in 2018.
Gloversville Mayor Vince DeSantis said he doesn't think sales tax revenues would show a decrease if it hadn't been for the very unusual 17.8 percent increase in sales tax Gloversville had in 2018 ($4.043 million) compared to 2017 ($3.433), by far the biggest year-over-year percentage increase in New York state.
"When I went to the [New York Conference of Mayors] back in 2018, I remember them saying sales taxes were up all across the state but Gloversville led the whole pack with a 30 percent increase for the first three quarters," DeSantis said.
DeSantis said Gloversville officials have discussed the strange spike in sales taxes with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance which confirmed the 2018 numbers were accurate.
"We thought it was a mistake for a while, but they said it was real," DeSantis said. "They said there were a couple of very big purchases in 2018. It might have been industrial equipment or something like that, but I can't imagine that large of single purchase that we wouldn't know about somehow through economic development."
In the city of Johnstown sales taxes grew in the third quarter by 4.1 percent, and were slightly higher, up 0.8 percent, for the first three quarters.
In Saratoga Springs sales tax grew 5.5 percent, about $200,00 for the 3rd quarter, with $4.3 million collected. For the first three quarters the Spa City collected $10.2 million, up $600,000 year-over-year, a 6 percent increase.