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Treasurer says sales tax money boosting Saline County

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
updated: 7/31/2019 2:20 PM

SALINE COUNTY -- Saline County is doing better financially than expected, thanks to the county's portion of sales tax, County Treasurer Jeff Murrie told board members Thursday.

While financial projections have been somewhat dire this year for the county, sales tax revenue has produced $96,000 more for the county than expected, Murrie said.

Murray said while the budget committee estimated the county would have $1,406,495 from sales tax revenue at the end of July, it actually has $1,503,117.

At this time last year, he said, the county had taken in $1,425,779.

The county's portion of sales tax is in the form of a public safety tax and is one quarter of 1 percentage point. Money generated from the tax will offset funds that otherwise would go toward public safety budgets, which largely is the sheriff's office.

Murray said it's difficult to track exactly what businesses or events in the county may be generating the additional revenue, though he said he's fairly certain that Eagle River Coal near Mitchellsville and Little Tractor Co. in Harrisburg have been significant contributors.

However, he said every single business in Saline County should be commended for continuing to help the county by staying here, and shoppers who shop local likewise should be thanked.

Board member Jonathan Russell, who also is a Saline County Chamber of Commerce board member, said the chamber has been raising awareness about the importance of shopping local, with various promotional campaigns.

"When shoppers stay local, the tax dollars add up over a year's time. It makes a big difference," Russell said.

County board Chairman Jay Williams also had praise for local businesses and local shoppers.

"We've been facing some financial challenges, but the businesses of Saline County and the people who shop in Saline County are doing a lot to help out, and I'd like to thank business owners and shoppers," Williams said.

"It's also clear that anything that can bring more people into the county, where they will spend money, also is helping. We need to continue to find the momentum to show people what a great place Saline County is."

Murrie, the treasurer, said according to the numbers, the county should have enough money to finish the year.

"We are not broke. We are keeping our heads above water, and we're paying our bills," Murrie said.

He also was adamant about sincerely thanking business owners.

"If you're out and about, tell that business thank you for keeping their business here in Saline County," Murrie said.

"Business owners don't get enough credit, and the folks who are here doing business are doing something that is turning things around for us. They could just as easily decide to shut down or move away, but they are sticking with us."