Will Grand Forks sales tax collections top $20 million this year?

Probably not.

A couple of weeks ago, the city of Grand Forks released sales tax figures that showed collections topped $2 million in August, the second time in three months. It was the third-highest windfall since the tax went into effect in 1985.

But 2013 won’t necessarily be a banner year for the sales tax, which is one barometer of economic activity in the city. According to figures provided by city staff, total 2013 collections were actually lower in September than they were at the same time last year by about $13,000.

In fact, 2012 was a much better year in terms of sales tax collections growth over the previous year than 2013 has been. Here’s a rundown of sales tax collections since 2011: Sales Tax receipts city of grand forks

With $16.3 million in sales tax collected so far this year, the city is within striking distance of the symbolic $20 million benchmark. It would be the first time collections were that high.

If history is any indication, however, Grand Forks will miss the mark this year. When taking into account average tax collections in November and December of the past two years, the city should collect about $19.7 million in sales tax revenue this year.

Still, $20 million is a symbolic number. As long as revenue surpasses the $19.3 million that was collected in 2012, that can be taken as a sign of more economic activity in Grand Forks and more money for the city.