AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — As Virginians were ordered to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments were expected to get less money from sales tax. However, that wasn’t the case for Augusta County.
Every time we shop, we pay sales tax to the state. In Augusta County, about one percent of the sales tax collected by the state goes back to the county, which helps to make up the budget.
“It’s about five to six percent of our total general fund revenues, so it’s significant,” Jennifer Whetzel, deputy county administrator for Augusta County, said.
When the ‘Stay at Home’ order was put into place, Augusta County expected a decline in money from sales tax. Last year, the county collected just over $530,000 in sales tax. This year, around $563,000 was collected.
"We had expected to have about a 10 percent drop, in our collection for April, and that was not realized," Whetzel said. "It actually came in fairly strong."
The county says this month’s collection was important. It was the first full month of the ‘Stay at Home’ order, and the last collection of the fiscal year. However, the county is still expecting to see a financial impact from COVID-19.
“We’ll see if this holds true for July and August, or will there be further concerns if people are not spending as they have been in the past,” Whetzel said.
For the next fiscal year, the county budgeted for a 10 percent decrease in sales tax. They cut around $5 million from the budget to account for the expected loss.