Revenues Still Rising

The City of Yankton once again recorded double-digit revenue growth last month.

Late last week, the city released its November sales tax revenue, collecting the city with a $1,026,275 take, up 11.9% over the same month a year ago. Overall, the city is up 9.87% on the year.

The BBB (bed, board, booze tax) also saw an extraordinarily strong shoulder-season month, up 15.09% over the same month last year. The BBB is up 19.53% on the year.

During a preview meeting for Monday’s City Commission meeting, Yankton City Manager Amy Leon said the numbers are unprecedented in her career.

“We are seeing sales tax (figures) I have never seen before in my career as a city manager anywhere,” she said. “(These are) excellent returns and I’m positive about that.”

Leon gave an example of where better-than-expected revenues can have a positive impact with an item that was set to be considered during Monday night’s commission meeting — an equipment bid that came in a bit over what had previously been expected.

“I remember buying walking floor trailers for $65,000 and this one that we’re going to be recommending to the commission is $87,000,” she said. “That price is jumping. Our costs, just like everyone’s costs for fuel and utilities, are ever increasing and quickly. I’m glad that we’re performing like this because we’re going to need to perform for sales tax in order to do the things we’re already doing.”

She said it’s this very inflation that is partly driving some of the positive sales tax momentum.

“I certainly want to be positive,” she said. “I don’t want to be ‘Grinchy’ about this whole thing, but costs are going up and that might be partially why our sales taxes are going up. … Where I’d get really concerned is if our sales tax was not growing and our prices were going up, because then we’d be having different discussions.”

Leon said it’s hard to pinpoint the full gauntlet of reasons why the city is out-performing not only 2020, which was marred by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 2019 as well.

“It’s stronger and we’re coming back,” she said. “But I’m having a hard time knowing — is part of the strength because things cost more? Or is part of the strength because people have more money in their pockets to spend? Are people buying now because they’re nervous about inflation and that’s going to come to a halt? Or are we just doing well? Is it probably a combination of all those things? But I think we’re doing great, and I’m so happy about that because we need to be.”

She added that it’s hard to foresee what 2022 might look like for revenues.

“I feel like I’m on a roller coaster that I’ve never been on before and I don’t know what’s around the corner,” she said. “I would expect January, February and March to be a little tighter and then we’ll loosen up again, but I think that depends upon what happens nationally and what happens with the pandemic, as well. It’s hard to talk about expectations when it seems like all bets are off on what’s going to happen here in our economy. But with the amount of projects we’ll be able to do with some of this (relief) funding, we may not see that dip either.”

Yankton is performing very much in line with the state’s other Top 10 First Class Cities Plus Vermillion. Rapid City is still exhibiting the strongest growth, up 19.93% on the year.

The odd city out is Aberdeen, which is down -3.40% on the year, though the city had recorded an exceptionally high growth year in 2020 in spite of the pandemic.

Vermillion is up 14.91% on the year.

 Follow @RobNielsenPandD on Twitter.

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