Tax report shows few changes in zones

POULSBO — A document that surprised the city three months ago turned more heads this month as the second draft showed that Poulsbo may be right on the money when it comes to sales tax.

For a second time, city budget analysts presented the Poulsbo City Council with a report of sales tax by zone for June, July and August. Creating a report that accounts for the origins of this revenue had been in the works with the city for nearly two years. The first ever such account was created to record the trends for January, February and March of this year.

Budget Analyst Deb Booher said the document is a helpful resource.

“This is a useful tool a lot for budgeting, we can track if we’re budgeting correctly,” Booher said, later adding, “It’s a projection tool that, since it’s fairly new, we don’t know exactly how it’s going to be useful.”

The report breaks the city into six zones of business: Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association area, Viking Avenue, Highway 305, the Bond-Lindvig intersection, downtown businesses outside of the HDPA and revenues from outside the city limits.

The reported taxes by zone were:

• HDPA zone — $30,890 or 6 percent of sales tax revenue, compared with $26,891 or 6 percent the quarter before.

• Viking Avenue — $161,550 or 30 percent of sales tax revenue, compared with $144,795 or 30 percent the quarter before.

• Highway 305 — $153,768 or 29 percent of sales tax revenue, compared with $132,635 or 29 percent the quarter before.

• Bond-Lindvig intersection — $30,836 or 6 percent of sales tax revenue, compared with $26,118 or 6 percent the quarter before.

• Downtown outside HDPA — $1,156 or less than 1 percent of sales tax revenue, compared with $1,225 or 1 percent the quarter before.

• Outside city limits — $155,877 or 29 percent of sales tax revenue, compared with $133,710 or 29 percent the quarter before.

The first sales tax report was a surprise to city staff because they didn’t expect such similarities in revenues generated from Viking Avenue, Highway 305 and businesses outside the city.

This time, Booher said she found the report’s consistency surprising.

“We’ve only done this two quarters and what’s interesting is that between the first quarter and the second is that not one of the percentages changes,” Booher said.

Of city’s total $534,077 in sales tax revenue for this quarter, $113, 256 or about 61 percent is from retail trade (compared to $104,999 or 64 percent in 2001), with the next highest category being contracting with $31, 371 or 17 percent of the pie (compared to $16,930 or 11 percent in 2001).

Besides the hopeful signs that the city is accurately projecting its sales tax revenue, its biggest source of revenue, tracking these taxes has also shown that the city is in fairly good shape financially speaking. Booher said so far Poulsbo’s sales tax revenue is up about 6 percent from 2001, as compared with some other cities that are having cut backs because of decreasing collections.

“It’s a great sign. It means we’re growing, and people are shopping here, and buying here, and moving here, and moving businesses here,” Booher explained.

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