Camden County could be staring down a rough year in sales tax revenue. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an ugly result on the global economy, and that certainly applies when looking closer at numbers on the county level.

Camden County could be staring down a rough year in sales tax revenue. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an ugly result on the global economy, and that certainly applies when looking closer at numbers on the county level.

Since 2015, Camden County has reached over $10,000,000 in sales tax revenue each year. The 2020 sales tax budget was set at $11,400,000 and as of March, the actual year-to-date sits at $2,548,916.39. Though there is still much of the year to factor in, and the summer months yet to come, the early stats show that a down year is likely.

Camden County Auditor Jimmy Laughlin says that with the stay home orders still active within the county and within the state, it’s difficult to predict what will happen moving forward. He says the county is estimating March to be down in the range of 30% to 50 %, which will be available for viewing in the May report. Laughlin continues, saying April and possibly May could be down 50-70% depending on stay home order length. He estimates the remainder of the year with a range of 15% to 30% down.

“Remember all of this is how long the virus continues to expand and stay home orders affect businesses and travel. The longer this continues the worse it could be,” Laughlin said.

The budgeted county revenue chart for 2020 lists a total expected revenue of $58,420,458. Among the largest factors are tax pass thru at $11,005,785, inter government at $17,503,864 and the previously mentioned figure for sales tax. If the sales tax generated is down as much as Laughlin estimates, the likelihood of the county reaching estimated budgeted revenue is low.

Current 2020 county expenditures sit at $58,266,372. That leaves a difference in revenue and expenditure estimates at $154,086. That is less than a single percent of leeway for the county to work with. If the sale tax numbers are lowered as drastically as Laughlin estimates, the county budget could face a massive negative outcome.

The best hope for the county, and for the lake as a whole, is a large bounce back of revenue generated through a surge in tourism once the pandemic is passed. However, this is still only a possibility with so many factors yet to play out.