August's taxable sales in Carson City showed a 1.4 percent decrease from August 1998, running counter to a statewide 6.8 percent increase.
August sales in Lyon and Douglas counties showed increases from the prior year, while Storey County had a 25.9 percent drop, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nevada Department of Taxation.
"That's unusual - Carson City usually doesn't buck the state trend," Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Larry Osborne said Tuesday.
But the community's two largest sales categories showed increases. Auto dealers and gasoline showed a 5.3 percent rise and general merchandise was up 3.8 percent. Osborne said those were the two areas where he looks first when evaluating the taxable sale reports.
Nevada merchants sold $2.37 billion in goods during August, a 6.8 percent gain over the same month a year earlier.
State revenues from taxes on the sales amounted to $48 million, up 8.7 percent for the month.
Storey County's $1,199,831 drop in taxable sales included the complete loss of sales in the engineering, accounting and research category, which had $790,227 a year earlier. Automotive dealers' sales were down $86,543 or 49.7 percent, while sales at apparel and accessory stores dropped 97.2 percent from $81,782 to $2,260.
Longtime Virginia City businessman Robert Miller, filling in Tuesday during the vacation of the Virginia City Chamber of Commerce's executive director, said the reconstruction of Geiger Grade leading up to the Comstock from Reno continued through much of August, affecting sales during the tourist season. But he said the project will likely help Virginia City's economy because the route is now safer.
"They did a really spectacular job. The curves are wider and the stripes and the railings are much easier to see," Miller said.
Douglas County's taxable sales increased $623,454 or 1.5 percent over the previous August.
But taxable sales at eating and drinking places - mainly the casinos at Stateline - dropped $1.03 million from the prior August. Among the areas that made up that difference and provided an increase in Douglas County were: amusement and recreation services, up $600,391; sales at food stores, up $534,040; petroleum refining and related activity, up $496,700, and building materials and hardware, up $399,105.
In Lyon County, sales of durable goods fueled most of the $1,365,812 increase in taxable sales over the prior August.
Sales of fabricated metal products were up $380,169 or 511 percent, industrial and commercial machinery sales were up $665, 965 or 387 percent and sales of transportation equipment were up $117,957 or 1,453 percent.
When levies collected on sales for local governments and schools are added in, the August statewide sales tax total climbs to $171.1 million.
Excise taxes also were collected on some of the August sales, for items such as cigarettes, liquor and fuel. That plus tax collections from estates brought in another $37.6 million.
The latest report on Nevada sales follows a recent Gaming Control Board report that showed the state's cut of the money won by casinos in August was up 11.3 percent.
Combined, sales and gambling tax revenues account for two-thirds of the money needed to run state government.
A breakdown of the $2.37 billion in August sales shows that the Las Vegas area accounted for $1.65 billion of the total, up 8.3 percent. The Reno area had sales totaling $406.5 million, up 4.8 percent.
In counties outside the Reno and Las Vegas areas, Carson sales were down 1.4 percent, Douglas sales were up 1.5 percent, Elko sales were up 7.8 percent, Humboldt sales were down 21.3 percent, and White Pine sales were down 29 percent.
A breakdown of sales categories shows bar and restaurant trade, an indicator of tourist traffic, was up 13 percent statewide, general merchandise was up nearly 14 percent, car sales were up nearly 11 percent, food stores were up 18.6 percent and clothing stores were up nearly 10 percent.