Mount Vernon’s sales tax revenue continues to beat staff’s dire predictions for the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a meeting of the city council Wednesday, Finance Director Doug Volesky shared newly-released May sales tax numbers, showing a 3% reduction compared to the same month in 2019.

City staff had originally predicted a 30% drop in 2020 sales tax revenue due to the pandemic.

Volesky said he wasn’t sure exactly why revenue wasn’t falling, considering reports of massive unemployment and economic insecurity both locally and nationwide.

He said federal aid, including the $1,200 stimulus check and $600-per-week extra unemployment benefits, likely helped. Without congressional action, these benefits are set to expire at the end of July.

“We’ll see what’s going to happen when it’s no longer there,” he said.

The situation was similar in Burlington, where staff reported at a recent council meeting stronger-than-expected sales tax revenue that essentially broke even in May compared to the past year.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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