Clovis News

Valley retail sales up 1.2% for 3rd quarter

Third-quarter retail sales in the central San Joaquin Valley grew just barely compared to the same period last year, although some Valley cities did quite well compared to others.

Sales-tax revenues comprise a key chunk of most cities' budgets, helping to fund such things as police, fire and parks.

Tax proceeds from retail sales in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties grew 1.2% during the quarter ending Sept. 30. That excludes a windfall in Dinuba due to an accounting error by the state Board of Equalization, which collects and distributes sales tax proceeds.

In the second quarter, ending June 30, retail sales in the four counties increased by 4.1% over the same period in 2009.

Some larger Valley cities saw sales tax receipts shrink during the third quarter. Fresno receipts fell 2%. Both Clovis, which dropped 4.3% and Hanford, down 13.2%, lost money in part due to adjustments by the state. Sales tax collections grew in Visalia by 2.6% and in Madera by 6.5%.

One city that got a big rebound was Firebaugh, which saw sales tax revenues surge 156% in the third quarter, to nearly $450,000.

Much of the rise came as a result of the expansion at the TomaTek plant, a major tomato processor, said Juan Antonio Ramirez, Firebaugh's city manager. The city also benefited from manufacturing jobs at the Queengil irrigation products plant, he said.