The City of Williamsport had more than a 6% decrease in business privilege and mercantile tax collection based on revenue from 2020, which the city treasurer said it isn’t a good thing to be down, but is better than what was anticipated.
The business privilege and mercantile tax is down in 2021, but that is based on revenue in 2020 when the pandemic started, said Nicholas Grimes, city treasurer and tax collector.
The city budgeted $1.7 million and ended up with $2.3 million, he said.
“The decrease is less than what was anticipated,” he said.
The loss of local service tax by 3.7% is similar.
That is a good pulse on the local economy, he said.
It is based on the number of workers employed in the city.
Grimes recently shared an article with City Council on the state of local service tax in Wilkes-Barre, which included a dramatic decrease in commercial office space rentals in its downtown.
The local service tax can be affected negatively when large offices close and reduce employee numbers, Grimes said.
Councilwoman Liz Miele said it might be worth it for the city officials to get a sense from the business developers who own buildings downtown.
The city should check to see if these large developers and building owners are planning to renew commercial leases or are seeing a reduction in the number of offices or office space used.