Fulton County sales tax revenues down $495K

JOHNSTOWN — For the second consecutive quarter, Fulton County’s overall sales tax revenue is down by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and county Treasurer Terry Blodgett is pointing to skewed solar project figures as the reason.

On Tuesday, Blodgett publicly released second quarter sales tax receipt figures he received from the state.

Figures showed that Fulton County received about $5.45 million for the second quarter of 2019, compared to $5.94 million for the same quarter of 2018. That translated to the county’s sales tax decreasing by $495,419 for the quarter.

“There’s a reason for that,” Blodgett said.

The county treasurer said a solar project last year in the county accounted for a roughly $600,000 increase in sales tax, which skews this year’s numbers.

“I kind of expected something like that to happen,” Blodgett said.

For the first quarter of 2019, Blodgett reported something similar.

Figures showed then that the overall total Fulton County sales tax distribution for the first quarter was about $5.01 million — a $407,205 decrease from about $5.42 million received a year ago for the first quarter of 2018. Blodgett said in April that his office analyzed the first quarter situation, and chalked up one of the reasons for the hefty first quarter drop to one project that may have skewed numbers last year.

“What happened last year was a large solar project — $8 or $9 million,” the county treasurer said three months ago.

Some of the information related to sales tax — and where it is derived from — is kept anonymous by the state. The county itself can’t access exactly where sales tax comes from. But Blodgett said with specificity that the solar project from 2018 was the reason for skewed, inflated numbers last year. He said that project probably added at least $360,000 to Fulton County’s 2018 first quarter sales tax receipts. He said he doesn’t know where the solar project is located within Fulton County.

Nevertheless, Blodgett stated Tuesday: “We’re about where we were last year.”

In other figures released Tuesday, Blodgett said the total sales tax received for Fulton County itself was about $3.68 million, or about $373,000 lower than last year’s figure of $4.06 million.

Blodgett didn’t have sales tax figures available from the state for the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown.

The towns and villages also received $122,087 less this quarter than the roughly $1.89 million received a year ago. The towns and villages received $1.77 million for the second quarter of 2019.

A second quarter breakdown by municipality, including the total received and the decreases across the board, follow:

Town of Bleecker, $67,226 — $6,677; town of Broadalbin, $226,563 — $5,946; village of Broadalbin, $44,143 — $2,089; village of Broadalbin portion in the town of Mayfield, $665 — $67; town of Caroga, $170,008 — $12,615; town of Ephratah, $62,321 — $1,158; town of Johnstown, $309,015 — $21,660; town of Mayfield, $299,652 — $30,650; village of Mayfield, $29,152 — $2,717; town of Northampton, $200,885 — $16,911; village of Northville, $59,117 — $1,588; town of Oppenheim, $65,198 — $1,588; village of Dolgeville portion in Fulton County, $2,973 — $100; town of Perth, $156,748 — $10,996; town of Stratford, $72,421 — $3,898.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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