VERDE VALLEY - According to the Arizona Department of Revenue, December is the second month in a row that Verde Valley communities have shown an increase in the sales tax categories for retail tax, total tax and year-to-date tax revenue. In those categories, Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale and Jerome are all up over the same month last year.
In retail sales tax revenue, Cottonwood climbed from $561,804 last December to $605,373 this year. Camp Verde also saw a nice increase in retail sales tax from $57,523 last year to $92,904 this year.
Clarkdale increased its retail sales tax to $3,815 in December from $3,216 last year, and Jerome increased in the same category from $18,818 in December last year to $23,654 this year.
Rudy Rodriguez, Director of Finance for Cottonwood, said he believes the sales tax reports are actually reporting one month behind. The December sales tax report is actually the numbers that were turned in by communities for November sales tax revenue.
"Any time they're strong, I'm real pleased," Rodriguez said.
He said the city will begin the budget process within the next 30 days.
"We're looking forward to it," Rodriguez said. "Our numbers are relatively strong."
He said he doesn't know if consumers are showing more confidence or not in the local economy. He said it might simply be resolve, that people think it is time to move on with their lives.
Rodriguez said people have reached a point where their logic is: "The car I needed, I might as well get it now."
Mike Showers, finance director for Camp Verde, said as far as city sales tax go, Camp Verde is doing well.
"We're seeing our city is moving along very well," Showers said. "On monthly budgets we're doing better than we expected to."
He said that includes figuring in the 1 percent sales tax increase.
But he isn't ready to recommend big budget changes for Camp Verde until he has more months to analyze what is going on at the state level.
"The state numbers are lower than they projected," Showers said.
He explained that local taxes provide a lot more money for the town that state taxes do, but the state taxes are significant and make an impact. He explained that unless the city sees some big numbers from the state, Camp Verde probably won't add any budget numbers.
"We'll give it a few more months to see if we continue to roll at above budgeted numbers," Showers said. "I wouldn't want to make a big budget change based on what I've seen before."