LINCOLN -- People's buying habits during the pandemic seemed to have benefited sales tax revenues for the city of Lincoln, Mayor Doug Hutchens said last week.
In some ways, it is a return to the "good ole days" when people would patronize the local stores in the community, he said.
There's also a consensus among area mayors, Hutchens said, that sales taxes collected from internet sales are boosting city coffers.
Lincoln's sales tax receipts collected in May are probably the highest the city has collected for one month in the past five years, Hutchens said. The city received $28,395 from its 1% sales tax.
Sales taxes collected by merchants are sent to the state Department of Finance and Administration, which calculates the amounts owed to the taxing entities and distributes the money two months later.
Sales tax receipts collected by local businesses in May were distributed to the city of Lincoln in July.
"Fourteen years ago when I started, $12,000 to $13,000 was a good month," Hutchens said. "It oscillates a little bit but we've not been under $20,000 in a while."
March's distribution is the lowest amount received so far in 2020. Lincoln received almost $21,000 in March, which was based on January sales.
The average for tax distributions from January-July has been $25,214 in revenues from the 1% sales tax.
Hutchens commented on the July distribution at the City Council's Aug. 18 meeting, noting it was a good month for the city of Lincoln.
"That is the power of folks shopping close to home," Hutchens said. "That's the bottom line. I'm glad to see it."
Last week, he said he believes people are shopping closer to home because of concerns about covid-19.
"We're seeing the comfort level of shopping at home outweigh the benefits of going to Fayetteville. And in most cases, it's not a lot more expensive," Hutchens said.
More people are going to Lincoln Lake or just driving around because of the pandemic, Hutchens said.
If visitors are going through Lincoln, he said he believes they feel more comfortable stopping at a business for gas, food or a meal because the town is small and people are more spread out.
Hutchens said new businesses have opened in town, whether brick and mortar businesses or online businesses, and new houses are being built.
Only one building in the city's industrial park, the old hatchery, is not occupied. A new business, a keto bar manufacturing company, will move into the old Harps building within the next year, and another business to manufacture sheet metal is in the works.
Lincoln now has a lumber yard, which means people can shop there instead of going to Fayetteville for those needs, Hutchens said, noting that many of the construction projects in Lincoln are purchasing their materials from local businesses.
"There's always 10-plus houses in new construction or being remodeled all the time. That's good for Lincoln. It's a nice sustainable growth for us," he added.
Some people may think Lincoln is on the decline. It's not, Hutchens said.
"Lincoln is not a bad place to be, especially when you have an outbreak like we have now. We're doing good. Houses are being cleaned up. Dilapidated houses are being bought and remodeled. Property values are going up."
Lincoln 2020 Sales Tax Revenues