City sales taxes remain above budget

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Collected sales tax for the city of Craig continues to beat planners' expectations and last year's pace.

Craig in March collected $180,817 -- up 2.7 percent from the same month last year, according to state data distributed by the city.

The figures put the city ahead of 2002's pace in each of the first three months of 2003, while a total of $777,389 had been collected through March -- about five percent above budget projections.

Planners have said the projections roughly follow month-to-month collections from last year, which reaped $2,349,074 in sales tax.

"I'm pleased we're having a little growth and not seeing the declines other communities are experiencing throughout the state," said Craig City Manager Jim Ferree.

A two-month lag exists between the date of sales and the city's collection of tax revenues from the state.

Craig Finance Director Bruce Nelson said he looks for the trend to continue. City officials are cautiously optimistic for a banner year in sales tax collection; an outlook at least partially based on the continued retrofit project at Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

Tri-State has indicated its current workforce of about 150 employees could be doubled in the months leading up to a planned six-week outage in September.

"As long as nothing earth shattering happens, we should continue to show a little growth,"

said Nelson.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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