Wauconda's sales tax revenue for first full month of pandemic exceeded expectations
Wauconda's revenue from sales tax, video gambling and other sources was down for the first full month of the COVID-19 crisis compared with the same month in 2019, newly released data shows -- but not nearly as terribly as officials anticipated when drafting the budget for the new fiscal year.
As a result, Wauconda is sitting a little more comfortably financially than expected.
Officials reviewed revenue data for March and April during an economic development committee meeting this week. The new fiscal year began May 1, and the budget was approved in June.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered restaurants, bars, most stores and other businesses to close in mid-March, so April was the first month to fully feel the economic impact of the pandemic.
Village Administrator Kevin Timony said his team made "very conservative" revenue projections for the 2021 fiscal year because of the pandemic.
Wauconda collected about $137,239 in sales tax revenue in April, down about 22% from nearly $175,373 in April 2019. That may not look good, but officials had predicted the sum would be much lower -- about $35,075.
Although many Wauconda businesses shut down during the early months of the crisis, others remained open. Some -- such as grocery and drugstores -- experienced greater sales than usual, Timony said.
"(We) didn't see too big of a hit," Timony said.
The village didn't collect any revenue from video gambling machines in April because terminals shut down at the start of the crisis. In contrast, the village collected $20,942 in gambling revenue in April 2019. Video gambling terminals were allowed to be reactivated this month.
Wauconda collected about $25,091 in gasoline taxes in April, down nearly 20% from $31,265 a year earlier, Timony reported. But the amount collected matched the village's projection for the month.
One revenue source actually increased in April from the same month a year earlier: state use tax, which is another type of sales tax. The village's sum for April was about $44,664, up 15% from April 2019's total of nearly $38,780.
Village leaders had predicted Wauconda would receive only about $31,025 in use taxes for the month.
In total, Wauconda collected about $206,994 from those four revenue sources in April. That's down about 22% from April 2019, but nearly 127% above projections.
Timony's report to the committee also included a sales tax total for March and April from the village's 20 top producing businesses, including ABC Supply Co., Jewel Food Store, Lindy's Landing, McDonald's and Walgreens. The $201,677 sum is down only 2% from the $205,011 recorded in the same two months in 2019.
Wauconda's budget for the 2021 fiscal year predicts the village will spend about $21.5 million on salaries, infrastructure improvements and other expenses. That's down more than 6% from the previous year's $23 million estimate.
It also predicts the village will collect about $18.4 million in property taxes, fees and other income during the year. That's down about 1% from the previous year's $18.6 million estimate.
Trustee Tim Howe, who leads the economic committee, said Timony's data indicated officials "did the right thing" by being conservative when drafting the budget.
"It also shows that we have enough diversity in businesses here that we're not getting creamed in any one particular area," Howe said.