Douglas taxable sales flat for August |

Douglas taxable sales flat for August

Geoff Dornan

Douglas County merchants had $47.71 million in taxable sales during the month of August, according to information released by the Nevada Department of Taxation on Tuesday. Sales were essentially flat with an increase of $4,106 over the $47.7 million from August 2009.

August also posted a decrease in taxable sales from July, which had $49.39 million in sales.

The five categories that make up half the sales all came in lower, but there were some bright spots.

The county’s single largest category, food services and drinking places, showed continued weakness with an 8 percent decrease over 2009 during the month. The second largest category, general merchandise stores, also showed a smaller decrease of 2.5 percent.

Building materials came in at only 1 percent less than last year and food and beverage stores came in at 6 percent lower. These five categories account for about half of the county’s total taxable sales.

Accommodations continued to show a large increase over the previous year with a 27.3 percent jump accounting for about $400,000 more taxable sales. Another gainer was health and personal care stores with an increase of 8.7 percent.

Statewide, taxable sales rose in August – the second month in a row of year-over-year increases.

But taxation officials say the increase can be attributed to the $149 million in taxable sales reported under the Department of Taxation’s amnesty program. Without that, they say the total would have been just about the same as August 2009.

The increase for August was 4.8 percent compared to the previous year. Combined with July’s 5.3 percent increase, state revenue collections are now more than 9 percent ahead of the projections by the Economic forum last January, a pad of some $10.8 million. Altogether, businesses reported a total of $3.22 billion in taxable sales in August.

Carson City also reported growth in taxable sales for August: 1.7 percent to $62.5 million.

“We’re just happy to be positive,” said Carson City Finance Director Nick Providenti, adding that the increase is better than city officials predicted when building their budget.

He said August 2009 numbers were inflated by the Cash for Clunkers program which produced a good bump for car dealers. In comparison, sales this August were down nearly 11 percent to $15.7 million.

Providenti said he is expecting a good boost from auto sales when September numbers are released because the month will be comparing to September 2009 when car sales slumped after that federal program.

“September numbers were really bad because everybody who wanted a car bought one in August (2009),” he said. “We’re expecting much better this September.”

In addition to that, he said Kohl’s opened in September, which should boost retail sales numbers.

Statewide, only three counties were down for the month: Mineral, Lyon and Washoe. Lyon was off just less than a percent to $28.4 million.

Storey County had huge increases in several unrelated categories, the largest being a jump in the non-store retail category from $117,267 to more than $1.8 million. Auto sales increased nearly 110 percent to $327,234, furniture manufacturing 100 percent to $196,085 and mining by 222 percent to $146,374.

The net increase for Storey was 85.5 percent to $5.6 million in August.