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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/5/2012 7:00:00 AM
Verde Valley sales taxes mostly up for September
Third month in a row for Cottonwood, Clarkdale

Philip Wright
Staff Reporter


VERDE VALLEY - The first three months of sales tax revenue in the new fiscal year for Cottonwood and Clarkdale are running ahead of the same months last year. Camp Verde and Jerome also have been showing some improvement in tax collections in some encouraging categories.

For example, Camp Verde is up in September over the same month last year in retail, total and year-to-date categories. Jerome is up in retail and total tax categories and almost even with the year-to-date figures from last September.

Cottonwood is up in all three of those categories for July, August and September. Clarkdale dropped in retail collections for September from last year but has been running ahead in the year-to-date category for the first three months of the fiscal year.

When the Arizona Department of Revenue's July sales tax report came out, Cottonwood was ahead of last year in all three of those categories.

"I wouldn't get excited about July figures," Rudy Rodriguez said at the time. The Director of Finance for Cottonwood always gives measured and cautious responses to the sales tax figures. He explained that it isn't unusual to see either a spike or dip in the July tax reports from the state.

Now, after the third month in a row for the new fiscal year, Rodriquez upgrades his level of response to the positive figures. "I'm cautiously excited," he said.

"We're not going to change our budget," Rodriguez said. "But we'll start looking at replenishing some of our resources."

He said he is happy with the tax reports. He also said it looks like Cottonwood will have another good year.

"We've still got a lot of ground to gain," Rodriguez said.

He said he would prefer to continue with single-digit growth from month to month rather than big spikes. He said steady growth makes it easier to plan.

Although Clarkdale also is up in total and year-to-date tax categories for September, it has been the construction tax category that has given the town a boost for several months.

In August, Clarkdale's construction tax revenue jumped to $79,402 from $7,256 the previous year. Now in September, the construction tax category jumped again, from $10,395 last September to $65,104 for this year. Year-to-date revenue for construction taxes climbed to $219,271 from $26,884 for the same period last year.

Kathy Bainbridge, Town Clerk and Finance Director, explained that because the total tax category is cumulative, it will continue to be high every month compared to last year.

"September was a high month due to the construction at the college," Bainbridge said. "That project is near completion. But there is a two month lag time from contractor payment to the town collecting from the state."

She said she hopes the two-month lag time will catch up with the town during the month with November collections.

Bainbridge said that as yet, the current construction tax figures do not include revenue from the wastewater treatment plant construction.

"The Twin 5 project is still in future collections as design and engineering are not taxable services," she explained.

The Twin 5s project is not expected to begin until spring. The Twin 5s water mains run along the Mingus Mountain foothills through rugged, undeveloped terrain. Those mains were constructed when Clarkdale was still a company town.

A single 12-inch water main will replace and relocate approximately 10,000 linear feet of the two 5-inch aboveground steel mains and the existing 8-inch asbestos concrete main.

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