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Mayor says town sales tax ‘steady’
Around 40 Coupeville business leaders came to Christopher’s on Whidbey Monday evening to hear the mayor give a report on the town’s business environment.
Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard presented her “State of the Town” address during an event organized by the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce.
With numbers in hand, Conard spent the first part of her address talking about sales tax collections and the business environment in town.
She was quick to point out there are only three empty buildings within town limits. One of those buildings, the Mad Crab, was recently sold. She noted that Coupeville’s occupancy rate is higher than other communities on Whidbey Island.
“I think there is a really good energy in our community,” Conard said.
The town of Coupeville received more than $342,000 in sales tax revenues in 2012. That amount is lower than the $371,000 collected in 2011, but higher than the $300,000 the town had budgeted to collect in 2012.
“It’s been fairly steady,” Conard said.
She described that the town is in a “new normal” of collecting between $320,000 and $340,000 a year in sales tax. Sales tax collections peaked in 2007 when the town collected $476,000. She said that increase stemmed from the public construction projects, such as the new Coupeville High School, that were underway at the time.
Conard noted that restaurants have been popular and restaurant owners are busy trying to add tables to their business.
“Our local community has stuck with our businesses and the visitors keep coming,” Conard said.
She also rattled off the recent activity in building permits, which have increased in recent years.
The town had a low of one commercial building permit issued in 2008. That number climbed to three in both 2009 and 2010 before tripling in 2011. Town staff issued 14 building permits in 2012.
The town collected more than $25,000 from the hotel/motel 2 percent tax, which is an increase over 2011.
Conard complimented the efforts of the Island County Tourism Board and its efforts promoting Whidbey Island.
A number of travel writers have focused on Whidbey Island and featured in regional travel and lifestyle magazines.
The town has received several grants that will fund projects throughout Coupeville.
Conard highlighted a couple of those grants during her address.
Town leaders plan to spend more that $1 million to replace the water and sewer lines on Madrona Way that would take place in 2014.
To help repair the road, the town received $480,000 from the Federal Surface Transportation Fund and state Transportation Improvement Board.
Conard said staff is looking for $100,000 that would be used as matching dollars for $400,000 worth of transportation dollars that would pay for resurfacing portions of Parker Road, North Main Street and Coveland.
The Ebey’s Forever Fund awarded the town $4,000 to replace the roof and doors at the Holbrook Barn located in the public lot behind the library.