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Published December 21, 2011, 07:49 PM

GF Taxable Sales Up as Busiest Shopping Days Arrive

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota sales tax collections were up significantly in the third quarter and not just in the oil patch.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota sales tax collections were up significantly in the third quarter and not just in the oil patch.

With the busiest shopping week of the year upon us, the city of Grand Forks is expecting a big gain in sales tax revenue this holiday season.

40 percent of sales in retail stores come in the weeks leading up to Christmas and Grand Forks businesses are reaping the big benefits this year.

"We're really happy with how our business has been in 2011. We've seen an upturn. We've been fortunate and had good business continually, but this has certainly been an excellent year," Gerrell's Sports Center owner Brad Westrum said.

The second half of this year marks the first turn-around in revenue since the fall of 2008. Shoppers agree that they're seeing more people out this year than previous ones.

"It is absolutely packed everywhere," shopper Nick Karlovich said.

Taxable sales in Grand Forks are up more than 10 percent in the third quarter of this year.

"It's certainly been a good year for sales tax in the city of Grand Forks. We're currently up 5.15 percent," GF budget officer Maureen Storstad said.

And the city budget was only based on a three percent increase for this year. The increase has city leaders looking ahead eagerly to the 2012 budget.

"Our 2010 budget was actually based on a two percent increase, so I think we're pretty conservative on that," Storstad said.

The city has taken in $17.5 million in sales taxes this year.

Portions of the tax go to the general fund, property tax relief, as well as infrastructure like street repairs in the city.

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