Johnson County is continuing to see year-to-year increases in its sales tax collections, according to County Treasurer Carla Bishop.
According to Bishop, the county brought in 6 percent more sales tax during the first six months of fiscal 2019 than in the same period in fiscal 2018.
“We can only hope that this trend will continue into the latter half of the year,” Bishop said. “What we’ve seen so far has been encouraging.”
By the end of December 2018, the county had collected nearly $794,000 in 4 percent sales tax. By the same time in 2017, the county collected just over $748,000.
In Johnson County, 4 percent sales tax distributions are split among the three municipalities – Buffalo, Kaycee and Johnson County – according to population. Those monies are then used to fund government operations.
The county has seen an even larger increase in voter-approved 1 percent tax monies raised, according to Bishop. During the first six months of fiscal 2019, the county brought in just over $640,000 – a 12 percent and $69,000 increase over the $571,000 raised during the first six months of fiscal 2018.
The 1 percent tax is an optional penny in sales tax approved by voters. It is collected at the state level and later sent to the city and county. The 1 percent committee – consisting of both city and county volunteers – interviews applicants for the funds and provides recommendations for how the money should be spent.
Bishop said she would make a recommendation for how much 1 percent money should be allocated for the current funding cycle within the next few weeks.
Bishop said the slight increase in both 4 percent and 1 percent collections was likely due to various factors. For one thing, she said, online retail giant Amazon – which voluntarily started collecting sales tax in Wyoming in March 2017 – continues to have a positive impact on the collections. In addition, steady automobile sales have contributed to the county’s coffers.
“We see people registering new vehicles here daily at the treasurer’s office,” Bishop said. “It isn’t so much that it is happening more than usual but that vehicles are getting more and more expensive. And that means more sales tax.”
The larger sales tax collections during the first half of fiscal 2019 follow a strong fiscal 2018 in which the county saw a 13 percent increase in 4 percent collections.
The county collected $1.36 million in 4 percent tax in fiscal 2018, according to Bishop. This was up from fiscal 2017’s collection of $1.21 million.
The county also saw a 12.7 percent increase in 1 percent tax collections in fiscal 2018. The county brought in roughly $1.04 million in fiscal 2018 – up from $919,451 in fiscal 2017.
In Wyoming, each retail vendor is responsible for collecting sales tax and then reporting those collections to the state. They must remit the funds to the state by the 20th day of the following month. At some point over the next 100 days, the state then disburses the funds.
Because the state has up to 100 days to disburse sales tax monies, Bishop said she anticipates another large sales tax check from the state in February. The check will likely include all the sales tax collected during the busy Christmas shopping season in December.
“Hopefully, that will be a big boost for us and will allow us to continue moving in a positive direction,” Bishop said.