Seal Beach sales tax revenues dropped in third quarter

In the company’s quarterly statement, HdL reported that after adjusting for statistical “anomalies,” sales taxes dropped 1.3 percent in the period from April to June of this year.

An “anomaly” is an abnormality, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary.

Seal Beach received 1,101,391 in gross receipts for the third quarter of this year. Last year at this time, Seal Beach received $2,071,802.

Before the anomalies were removed, the drop in Seal Beach sales tax revenues appeared to be a whopping 46.8 percent for the third quarter.

Still, Seal Beach apparently did better than the rest of the region.

According to HdL, taxable sales throughout Orange County dropped 20 percent during the third quarter, as did sales for the entire Southern California region.

Sales taxes were down in most business groups, especially the fuel and service station category.

“A retroactive adjustment that grossly inflated the year ago period exaggerated the decrease in fuel and service stations,” said the HdL report. After the adjustment, the decrease for the service station category was 5.4 percent in sales tax revenues for the quarter.

“The closure of an electronics/appliance store contributed to lower receipts in general consumer goods,” the HdL report said.

This was apparently a reference to the Circuit City that was located in the Shops at Rossmoor Center until the nationwide chain closed its doors.

Restaurants sold less food during the third quarter, according to the report.

“A new outlet bumped up returns in food and drug and temporary adjustments expanded results in business and industry,” the HdL report said.

This was apparently a reference to the opening of the Sprouts Farmer’s Market in the Shops at Rossmoor Center.

Some information about sales tax revenues was not available because state laws make confidential any information that could be used by one business competitor against another. For this reason, there were no figures on department stores or petroleum companies in Seal Beach.

However, it is a matter of public record that the Seal Beach City Council on July 23, 2007 agreed to provide financial assistance to Energy Tubulars Inc., a company that serves the petroleum industry. At that time, city officials agreed to reimburse the company 20 percent of the company’s quarterly sales tax revenues four times a year.

Energy Tubulars is one of the top 25 revenue producers in Seal Beach according to the HdL report.

The decline in Seal Beach sales tax revenue was consistent with statewide trends. “All categories and regions were down with receipts from fuel, automobiles, business supplies and construction materials exhibiting the largest reductions,” the report said. “This is the eighth consecutive quarter of statewide declines but subsequent reductions should become increasingly moderate as the economy bottoms out and future quarters are compared to previous record lows.”

The HdL report did bring some good news, followed by more bad news.

“Statistically, most economists agree that the national recession bottomed out somewhere around the end of July,” the report said.

“However, restoration of California’s previous sales tax levels will lag” behind the minor recovery that economists expect, according to HdL.