Sales up 18 percent in Douglas |

Sales up 18 percent in Douglas

by Linda Hiller

A reported 18 percent increase in sales for Douglas County is reason to smile, but not necessarily to celebrate, according to a county fiscal officer.

The 18 percent increase was for November 1999 compared to November 1998, according to a report by the state Taxation Department.

The Oct. 10 opening of Target was a likely factor in the increase, said Michael Brown, assistant director of administrative services.

“Of course, we planned for an increase with Target, and that is probably why the numbers are up, but we like to look at the whole yea,” he said. “When you get a spike in one month’s sales, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the big picture. If we were to have an 18 percent gain every month, it would be great, but we can’t look at individual months that way.”

In September, sales increased by 12.4 percent, but that only represented an overall increase of 5 percent for the year, Brown said.

Even when looking at one month, timing is everything from month to month and year to year, he said.

“Sometimes it depends on when the (tax) income gets reported,” he said. “If it’s reported the end of one month, it’s counted for that month, but sometimes these things are in dispute.”

– Going to Carson City. October’s sales figures from the state need to be clarified by a visit to state officials from Douglas County this month, Brown said.

“Dan (Holler, county manager) and I will be meeting with them this month. There’s some question on the numbers we got from the state that we need to clarify,” he said.

While it isn’t common to have to go to the state with questions, Brown said recent changes in the way things are reported have made for some confusion.

“It’s all lumped together now, so we can’t tell exactly where the monies are coming from,” he said. “It was part of a recent legislative change to simplify the process.”

– Where it goes. The Douglas County sales tax rate of 6.75 percent is broken down into five components – 2 percent sales tax distribution, 2.25 percent local school support tax, .5 percent basic county relief tax, 1.75 percent supplemental county relief tax and .25 percent parks, recreation, airport and senior services.

Where any increases in revenue goes is ultimately up to county commissioners, although many predetermined expenses are already in place, Brown said.

In recent years, there has been a definite increase in sales taxes revenue for Douglas County, Brown said.

“There’s no question in our eyes that based on what’s happened this year, the trend in sales tax is increasing in Douglas County,” he said. “That much we will say.”