EAST WENATCHEE — Douglas County is set to approve a preliminary budget bolstered by an increase in sales and construction-related taxes.
Next year is looking pretty good for the county, according to Karen Goodwin, Douglas County accountant. This year alone, sales tax is up by $3 million over 2020 and are expected to continue through 2022, Goodwin said.
One big chunk of revenues comes from taxes on the construction of a Microsoft data center campus. Goodwin said it was big chunk of their sales tax but did not know the exact amount.
“It’s actually a pretty unique year,” Goodwin said. County commissioners are set to OK the 2022 budget on Dec. 6.
The county projects about $21.7 million in revenues in the 2022 budget, $1.9 million more in revenues than what was projected for 2021.
Goodwin said that the county has been very lucky lately because of the amount sales tax it has been receiving.
The county had projected to receive about $19.8 million in 2021, but now the estimate for this year’s revenue is about $23.6 million.
The only major drop in revenue the county expects is the loss of about $800,000 to a million in taxes from the proposed annexation of parts of Douglas County.
“That’s going to be our biggest challenge in the next few years,” Goodwin said. “Luckily, or construction sales tax and other sales tax have been up and won’t be affected. So we’re hoping that it won’t have too bad of a negative impact. But it’s still a lot of money to lose.”
The budgeted 2022 expenses went up a bit going from $ 21.2 million in 2021 to $ 21.7 million next year, according to Douglas County documents.
The county has always been conservative with its expenses, and the result is a $31,147.29 budget surplus for 2022, she said. The county’s “rainy day fund” is projected to be $14.2 million by the end of 2022.
The county is set to adopt the 2022 preliminary budget at 9 a.m. on Dec. 6. People can attend the public hearing and comment here: wwrld.us/douglascounty.