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Washington County officials disappointed with sales tax revenue

FORT EDWARD ? Washington County supervisors got good news and bad new about the county budget Wednesday.

The good news: The county’s efficiency plan, which involved every municipality in the county, was accepted by the state. That means property owners will receive a small tax rebate this year if the county stays within the tax cap.

The bad news: Sales tax revenue growth has all but stopped, likely leaving the county in the red.

The budget estimated that the county would collect $18.6 million in sales tax this year. That seemed a safe bet because the county collected more than $19 million each of the past two years.

And each year, the county had vastly underestimated sales tax revenue, guessing it would collect about $2 million less than it actually received.

But this year, buying has stalled.

In early October last year, the county collected $1 million in sales tax. In that same period this year, the county collected half as much.

It’s the fifth time this year that the biweekly figures came in under last year’s revenue. Supervisors had been eagerly anticipating the October report to help them understand whether the budget was in trouble and whether they would need to budget more conservatively next year — which might require cuts.

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