VERDE VALLEY - The sales tax report by the Arizona Department of Revenue shows that January was the third month in a row that Verde Valley communities have posted increases 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 improved from $723,984 last January to $758,872 this year. Camp Verde saw a retail tax increase from $79,692 last year to $97,075 for the same month this year.
Clarkdale increased its retail tax collection to $4,092 this year from $3,298 last year. Jerome also saw a nice bump in its retail tax revenue from $16,363 last January to $20,877 this year.
Lana Tolleson, president and CEO of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, is very positive about the things she is seeing and hearing about business in Cottonwood and the Verde Valley.
"I'm hearing a lot of positive comments from business and retailers," she said. "It's encouraging that a lot of visitors are coming to Cottonwood, and they're seeing all of cottonwood."
She said she knows that some local bankers are excited about the loans they are making. Construction people also are reporting that business is up.
"Even jewelers are reporting increases in sales to tourists," Tolleson said.
She said that a number of retailers have told her that the past few months have been very good.
She reports that the chamber has been active in promoting the Cottonwood area.
"We've targeted advertising in Phoenix for spring training," she said.
That has been paying of because Tolleson says they have seen people coming in from that advertising.
"They are finding their way up here," she said. "When you put appealing images out there, they want to come."
Steve Goetting, chair of the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, is seeing some of the same positive signs that Tolleson is seeing in Cottonwood.
He said he is seeing a synergy developing now with the Verde Valley Archaeology Center being open full time. He said there is a lot more business activity.
"More Verde Valley locals are getting out and doing stuff," he said. "There is an energy I'm seeing."
He said other business people in Camp Verde are seeing positive signs also.
"It's a trickling effect," he said. "But they're all talking about things are better."
He admits there are still plenty of challenges to deal with. But overall, the economic picture is steadily improving.