The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2013

Joplin marking dip in revenue from sales tax

By Debby Woodin
news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — While the counties are holding steady or seeing an upswing so far this year in sales tax proceeds, Joplin’s numbers are down.

Joplin’s tax receipts for the fiscal year, which began Nov. 1, are approaching $8.4 million, compared with more than $8.7 million at this time last year.

A post-tornado building boom coupled with an influx of volunteers to aid Joplin’s recovery helped to push Joplin’s sales tax revenue for fiscal 2012 to nearly $12.9 million. That was up by more than $500,000 from 2011 and about $1.3 million from 2010.

Leslie Haase, the city’s finance director, had cautioned that the revenue would dip once home repairs and replacement of home goods from tornado losses tapered off and the number of volunteers coming to the city declined. That apparently has happened.

“Construction is down 43.5 percent for the first quarter, which represents a decrease of almost $480,000 in building investment. The second quarter was down 35.4 percent, which represents almost $312,000,” she said.



JASPER COUNTY

Sales tax revenue for Jasper County is steady so far this year, said Auditor Richard Webster.

“We’re about even with what we estimated for the year,” he said.

General revenue was projected to be $6 million for the year, and proceeds through June were slightly more than $3 million. The county budgeted for a 5 percent decrease from last year, for the same reasons as Joplin.

“Receipts at the current time are 5 percent less than what they were a year ago,” Webster said. “Last year, they were $6.2 million. Hopefully we’ll make it to $6 million if the trend continues. It’s hard to tell” what will happen in future months, he said.



NEWTON COUNTY

Sales tax revenue in Newton County is up.

“Our tax is back up comparable to before the (economic) crash in 2008,” said Marilyn Ruestman, presiding commissioner of Newton County.

“We were a couple hundred thousand up from last month. We don’t have a trend. We were stationary until this last month, and then this last month we went up. We don’t know of a particular thing that’s going on” that pushed up revenue.

“We are just thinking we’ve had good activity in Newton County for the last month. The road tax is up from last year, too.”

Proceeds this year so far are more than $598,000, up from $590,000 last year and $520,000 in 2011.

“Last year was good, and we were afraid that would be reduced this year because of the building explosion, but this year it increased,” Ruestman said.



Globe staff writer Wally Kennedy contributed to this report.