Carbondale’s February sales slide 18.7 percent |

Carbondale’s February sales slide 18.7 percent

CARBONDALE ” The town of Carbondale remains in a good position to absorb continued recession-related losses, despite an 18.7 percent drop in revenues from taxable retail sales for February, according to Town Manager Tom Baker.

“It was certainly more than we expected,” Baker said of the fourth straight month of sales tax declines for the town.

Carbondale’s March sales tax report, which reflects actual revenue from February retail sales, showed by far the largest single-month downturn.

However, February 2008 was also the only month last year in which the town recorded a double-digit increase in sales tax revenues. Revenues increased 10.6 percent that month, compared to February 2007.

“So, we are seeing that play into the larger [percentage] loss for February of this year,” Baker said.

For the year to date, Carbondale’s sales tax revenues are down about 9.7 percent compared to 2008.

But the town is still prepared to weather the economic downturn, at least for this year.

Already, the town has identified about 10 percent of its budgeted expenditures for this year that can be put on hold indefinitely, Baker said.

“It looks even more important now that we continue to keep those expenditures on hold,” he said. “Right now we have sheltered enough expenditures to weather a 20 percent drop [in revenues] from 2008.”

Going into the year, the town budgeted for a 10 percent drop in revenues, including a projected 5 percent decline in sales tax revenues.

“We are seeing a lower volume of spending in the town, pretty much across the board,” Baker said. “With the construction and real estate segment so far down, it cascades into everything else.”

The Carbondale Board of Trustees will review the latest figures and may make other adjustments at a special town board meeting tonight. The meeting begins at 6:30 at Carbondale Town Hall.

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