Although statewide taxable sales improved in Fiscal Year 2014, local figures show a different story, said Churchill County Comptroller Alan Kalt.
Kalt gave an overview of this year’s taxable sales results to county commissioners on Wednesday and recapped the past 10 years.
The fiscal year ended June 30.
According to the Nevada Department of Taxation, Kalt said the state finished the fiscal year at $47 billion, almost $5 billion better than the year before. Kalt said the final figure represents 96.6 percent of its peak when Nevada took in $49 billion in FY 2007.
As for Churchill County, Kalt said Fallon finished FY 2014 with $252 million, down $134 million from the previous year.
“This past year we have seen a significance decrease in Churchill County,” Kalt said.
He said the rural counties that depend on alternative energy revenue or mining taxes all slumped during FY 2014. In addition to Churchill County, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt and Pershing counties all saw decreases ranging from 1.9 percent to 15.2 percent.
Kalt said Churchill County is hurt by tax abatements for alternative energy, thus resulting in the major revenue drop of $134 million. Kalt said the tax abatements occurred during the construction phases for Enel’s Stillwater solar field, Patua power plant and the Dairy Farmers of America dry milk plant southeast of Fallon.
The yearly tax abatements also resulted in a lower number for Fallon’s top 10 businesses, Kalt pointed out. Churchill County’s top businesses pulled in $183 million in taxable sales, down $133 million for FT 2013; however, that number is almost $30 million more than FY 2011 and 2012.
Kalt said he is pleased to see the auto dealers staying steady with their tax numbers. Auto dealers finished FY 2014 with $32 million in taxable sales, down 2.4 percent from the previous year but the second highest amount since FY 2008.
“They are slowly coming back,” said Kalt. “The average age of a vehicle is 12 years, and people are beginning to replace them.”
According to Kalt, 80 businesses including Walmart comprise General Merchandise Stores. Since 2010, Kalt said the taxable sales at the end of the fiscal year have been hovering between $42-43 million. The height came in FY 2006 and 2007 before the Fernley Walmart opened. More than $60 million was collected in FY 2007.
Kalt said the firms that deal with building material and hardware have had two positive years with FY 2014 finishing at $19.9 million, but Construction Specialty Trades slipped 6.7 percent and finished the fiscal year with $9.5 million.
“We’re starting to see some modest growth with them,” Kalt said.
Despite the loss of Raley’s two years ago, Kalt said Food Stores has shown steady increases for the past four years, finishing FY 2014 with $12.8 million. Although food is not taxed, Kalt said other items carried by the stores are taxed.
The biggest jump for the year came in Eating and Drinking.
“The restaurants and bars seem to be doing well,” Kalt said.
The county took in $32.4 million, a jump of 19 percent from the previous year.
Other categories Kalt reviewed included Furniture Stores, $5.3 million; Durable Goods, $6 million; and Miscellaneous Retail, $2.8 million. He said Miscellaneous Retail rose 10.9 percent.
Kalt said 2014 has been an optimistic year for the county. Various retailers have opened stores in Fallon including Big 5 Sporting Goods, Bealls and Pizza Factory. Kalt also said the Fallon Chamber of Commerce and Churchill Economic Development Authority are also doing a better job of promoting and working with businesses.
“We’re also starting to see some retail space fill the downtown corridor,” he added.
June was also a strong month for many categories. Kalt said Building Material, Food and Beverage Stores and Food Service and Drinking Places all had strong numbers, due in part to Octane Fest and the Hometown Heroes/Relay for Life weekend.
The one area that took a big hit was General Merchandise, losing 25 percent of taxable sales to $8.7 million.