County’s income on lift hill

Gatekeeper credited with August sales tax increase.
Andy Ouriel
Nov 19, 2013
Erie County commissioners might appreciate Cedar Point’s newest attraction even more than children, daredevils and roller coaster enthusiasts do.

Tourists and residents generated about $1.47 million in sales tax income during August by purchasing goods and services throughout Erie County.

The $1.47 million figure represents almost a 6 percent gain compared to August 2012, when officials collected $1.39 million.

A large chunk of sales tax money no doubt derived from all the fanfare surrounding GateKeeper, the record-breaking winged roller coaster that debuted in May.

“It’s the roller coaster,” said Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo, correlating the tax income surge to GateKeeper’s arrival.

Erie County commissioner Bill Monaghan said people are more willing to spend money on recreational activities today versus a few years ago. He added this signals an end to the sluggish economy, which had been reeling from a recession since late 2007.

“People are taking vacations that they didn’t take before,” Monaghan said.

To date, county officials have collected about $13.1 million through 2013. They’re also $444,000 above the projected amount officials estimated they’d receive by today’s date.

All told, sales tax income should meet, if not exceed, the $14 million figure budgeted for 2013. The final collection is in December.

Sales tax represents about half the county commissioners’ everyday operating budget, totaling about $26 million each year.

Sales tax money helps pay for various county services, including court, sheriff and maintenance operations.