OLEAN — Local counties saw sales tax revenues slip again in August, according to state officials.

The Office of the State Comptroller reported Thursday that Western New York counties collected $80.65 million in local sales taxes in August, about 11% less than in August 2019.

“Since the pandemic hit, local governments have seen a massive drop in sales tax collections,” said state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. “This is hurting their bottom lines and many have few options to plug the hole. Washington needs to stop playing political games and provide financial help to local governments to weather this storm.”

Almost every county in the state saw drops in overall collections for August, ranging from 1.3% in Tioga County to 35.5% in Delaware County. New York City had a 7.1% decline, a $43.9 million reduction in revenues.

Of the reporting agencies across the region, the city of Olean was hit hardest compared to the year before.

In August, the city saw local collections of $267,000, down more than a quarter from the $363,000 reported the year before.

Since January, sales tax collections are down 7.5% for the city.

However, the city’s fiscal year runs from June through May. In the first three months of the 2020-21 fiscal year, the city’s returns are down almost $113,000 — about 10%.

When planning the budget in April — after the state shut down many businesses, schools and government operations — aldermen approved a budget estimating sales tax revenues would be around $4.16 million, about 5% lower than the year before.

Cattaraugus County recorded $2.71 million in sales tax receipts in August, down 13.3% from August 2019. Year-to-date, the county has collected $24.07 million, a 6.1% decline from the first eight months of 2019.

Sales tax receipts in the county began to decline on a monthly basis until April, as strong sales early in the month counteracted decreased sales as the pandemic began to affect local businesses. The worst month of the year was May, when revenues fell 38.4%

Salamanca recorded around $44,600 in sales tax receipts in August, down 16% from the $53,000 collected in August 2019. For 2020 to date, around $440,000 has been collected, up 0.5% from the first eight months of last year.

Allegany County’s sales tax receipts are up 0.4% from the first eight months of 2019 — the only county in the region to see a net gain. August saw $1.52 million in sales taxes collected, down 9.8% from July 2019. However, the county saw a 32.3% increase in June from the year before; and a 24.8% increase in March — both of which countered the major decreases in April and May due to the pandemic.

Across the state, sales tax revenue — at $1.32 billion — declined 7.8% from the year before. For the first eight months of the year, sales tax revenues dropped almost 11% — from 11.6 billion to $10.4 billion.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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