- Seymour’s sales tax soars

Despite the cancellation of this year's Seymour Apple Festival last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seymour City Administrator Hillary Gintz is optimistic that the city's sales-tax revenue won't see a drop when September's money arrives in November. Last year's festival, shown, had near-perfect weather and record crowds.

It appears the national COVID-19 pandemic is making an impact on the city of Seymour’s economy.

A good impact.

Sales-tax revenue received earlier this month by the city showed nearly a 100-percent increase, City Administrator Hillary Gintz said.

Last week, the city’s revenue from the 7/8-cent general-revenue tax was $30,572.47.

For the same period a year ago, the revenue received was $15,401.37.

Gintz noted that the sales-tax money for each year was from the month of August.

“We’re two months behind in terms of when we receive the money versus when it was collected,” she explained.

However, she said the trend since COVID-19 struck the nation is that Seymour’s sales-tax revenue has risen.

Last month, the city’s general-revenue (collected in July) was $42,690.29, up from the $40,225.30 collected during the same period last year.

“It will be interesting to see what we receive in November, which is what was collected in September, as the annual Seymour Apple Festival was canceled,” Gintz said.

“We would expect to see a loss in (sales-tax) revenue with the festival not being held, but I’m uncertain that we will, because we’re running this high above last year.”

For the current fi scal year, which started July 1, the city’s general-revenue sales tax is at $126,754.31.

For the same period in the previous fiscal year, that total was just over $100,000.

Since COVID-19 became a national health crisis at the end of March, Gintz said the city’s sales-tax revenue has been on the upswing.

“If you just look at the numbers, we had a low month in February, but that was before (the coronavirus) made its appearance,” she noted.

“Our sales-tax increase started in March and April, once COVID-19 hit, and it’s been up ever since. There was a very small drop in July, which was our May sales tax, but that drop was less than $1,500.”

Conversely, the city’s sales-tax revenue for its earmarked funds, including the 1/2-cent sales tax for parks and recreation (that funds the operation of indoor pool at the Seymour YMCA) and the 3/8-cent sales tax for the city’s fire and police departments, also is up at the same rate.

“It’s a good position to be in ... versus the alternative,” Gintz said.

In the 2014-15 fiscal year, the city of Seymour collected $265,383.26 in general-revenue sales tax.

That tally was up to $326,798.62 for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which officially ended this past June 30.

Current projections show this fiscal year’s sales tax for general revenue could be as high as $375,000 or more if the current trend continues.

“I do think (that COVID-19) has led many local residents to do their shopping more locally,” Gintz said.

“The numbers show that. And that’s a good thing. When people are spending their money in Seymour versus going to other counties or cities, such as Springfield, the city benefits with the increase in sales-tax revenue.”

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