VERDE VALLEY - The monthly sales tax reports from the Arizona Department of Revenue continue to indicate that communities in the Verde Valley are seeing improvement in the economy.
Although Clarkdale and Jerome were both down from the same month last year in retail sales tax, their year-to-date sales tax totals are running well ahead of last year.
Clarkdale dropped from $4,397 in retail tax from last February to $3,041 for this year. Jerome had a significant drop in retail sales tax revenue for the month from $23,375 last year to $13,464 for the same month this year.
Cottonwood and Camp Verde both posted strong retail sales tax revenue for February. Cottonwood was up from $536,843 from last February to $612,690 this year.
Camp Verde was up in February's retail tax category from $60,067 last year to $98,810 this year.
"The last three months we've been above $230,000 or higher," said Mike Showers, finance director for Camp Verde.
He pointed out that all three of those months also were above budgeted figures.
"Last month, we had our largest single month's sales tax distribution in the last eight years," Showers said. "There are a lot of factors influencing that."
He explained that the recent 1 percent sales tax increase obviously is part of the upswing, but he said there also is increased activity.
"We're cruising well above budget," Showers said.
He said there are a few issues connected to sales tax revenue that his department is trying to identify now. He said they are trying to make sure people are reporting the right numbers.
"We'll still be above budget," he said. "Things do look well."
Clarkdale has continued several months in a row of increasing the year-to-date revenue.
Now with Mountain Gate subdivision ready to begin development soon, the sales tax picture for Clarkdale could be more promising than it has been in recent years.
"The town will certainly receive a one-time economic impact from construction revenue and building permits as houses start to develop," Town Manager Gayle Mabery said.
She explained that it is much more important to the town to ensure that the new development in Mountain Gate is a quality development that integrates well into the community.
"We have almost 200 families living in Mountain Gate today, many of whom have ridden the wave of uncertainty brought on by Empire's bankruptcy," Mabery said. "We are happy that they now have a willing partner in BC Land Group to address issues within their subdivision."
Mabery said town staff is happy with BC Land Group's recognition that they need to be responsive to the needs of the entire community of Clarkdale.