A key source of revenue for the City of Washington is nearly holding steady despite a devastating tornado that was followed by a brutal winter.
Preliminary numbers show sales tax revenue is down about 2.5% from December through February, the most recent figures City Administrator Tim Gleason could offer. The figure, while down, is actually encouraging for Gleason, considering the economic damage expected in the aftermath of the Nov. 17 and one of the worst winters in the region's history. He says sales tax revenue is something that he eyes closely when considering the budget, since it represents about a quarter of the city's income.
"That's a huge number," Gleason said.
The Visit, Shop, Eat Washington campaign may have a lot to do with the fact that sales tax revenue has not completely fallen off a cliff. The campaign, which encourages residents in surrounding cities to spend money in Washington, was launched by the Washington Chamber of Commerce to help businesses stay afloat after the tornado.
"This region is really looking out for Washington, and we appreciate it," Gleason said. "With the kind of activity that I've got going on out in the community, I am cautiously optimistic."
Gleason says he's still waiting for more data to create a better picture of the economic state of Washington. It will be late this summer or early this fall before the full impact of the tornado and winter can be fully realized.