Sales taxes up for county

Oneida County collected $92.2 million in sales tax last year, a 3.4 percent increase from 2011.

The county sales tax came in about $2.2 million over what was projected and slightly more than $3 million ahead of 2011’s $89.1 million. This higher-than-budgeted total is one of the reasons why the county expects to show a surplus for 2012 when the final accounting of expenses and revenues is complete.

The $92.2 million figure does not include sales tax shared with the 26 towns and 19 villages under agreements. Their take was about $36,1 million.

"The economy seems to be stable here, chugging along a little higher," said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.

He points to sales tax being collected on most transactions at the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort and Casino and reports of higher car sales as reasons for the increase. In 2010, the Oneidas reached an agreement with a third-party vendor to lease and manage certain casino operations, like food and beverage services and hotel rooms, permitting the county to receive sales tax on this economic activity for the first time.

Sales tax is the county’s largest revenue source, accounting for nearly 25 percent of this year’s $371.9 million spending plan.

"I think the health of the general economy is up," said Comptroller Joseph J. Timpano, expressing optimism about both last year’s sales tax results and this year’s. "Everything you read about in the national news is positive."