Finance officials announced Tuesday that Cortland County is bringing in 14.4 percent more in sales tax compared to last year’s first quarter numbers.
This continues the trend for the last year of the county bringing in surpluses in sales tax compared to their relatively modest estimations. Cortland County closed 2021 with approximately $37 million in sales tax collection, which is close to $8.7 million more than county officials projected in the 2021 budget.
At Tuesday’s County Finance and Administration Committee, county administrator Rob Corpora presented the latest figures for the first quarter of 2022. For the first quarter of 2022, the county raked in $9,099,336.01, which translates to $8,724,336.01 to be distributed to municipalities. This occurs after a direct deduction used for county purposes.
Legislative Minority Leader Beau Harbin (D-LD-2) asked financial officials about the surplus funds.
“Have we decided how we are going to handle that incoming additional revenue, are we making plans for this year for those funds, (and) is it going to reserves or general fund?,” he asked.
Corpora said he will present a plan for surplus sales tax funds to the Finance and Administration Committee once the books are closed for 2021.
“We will put together a plan for Finance and Administration to know whether we are going to use the money, (or) put it in reserves. We will have an update on everything,” Corpora said. “Since we don’t know how long this increase is going to go on for, we should definitely put some on reserve accounts.”
One-time investments, like infrastructure projects, would be ripe for the use of sales tax funding, Corpora said.
Legislature Chair Kevin Fitch (R-LD8) said the plan will come to Finance and Administration first and later to the full legislature.
“This is what the committee is here for,” Fitch said.
Legislative Majority Leader George Wagner (R-LD-15) was in favor of allocating some funds to reserve.
“It was not long ago that we would have killed for the money we have coming in now,” Wagner said of the surplus sales tax funds. “It is not going to last…we need the reserve.”