CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — Initially, Camden County officials worried the Covid-19 pandemic would hurt sales tax revenues. And in most areas of the country, it has. But the numbers are in, and the commission for the most populous county at Lake of the Ozarks says May 2020 sales tax revenues for Camden County were actually up by 10 percent compared to May 2019.
The commission made the announcement after receiving July sales tax receipts; sales tax receipts are posted two months after the fact, so the July receipts actually indicate tax revenues for the month of May.
Summer at Lake of the Ozarks has stood in sharp contrast with most of the rest of the nation. Missouri was one of the last states to implement statewide shutdowns, and one of the earlier states to begin reopening. Even that reopening process left significant leeway to cities and counties to determine what level of Covid precautions they wanted to take.
At the Lake, business has been booming. Boat dealers report strong or even record-setting sales, marinas have reported strong fuel sales, the real estate market is extremely hot, and vacation management companies report record-breaking bookings. While many people have been calling vacation rental companies to cancel their summer plans at the Lake, even more are calling to seek reservations. All that economic activity appears to be benefiting tax revenues.
Due to COVID-19 concerns and the uncertainty of incoming revenues, the county had instituted a hiring freeze. They have now rescinded the hiring freeze "with cautious optimism," according to a county commission press release. "All Elected Officials and departments within the County have been very cooperative during this time and their efforts are greatly appreciated," the county commission added.
The commission urged the public to "continue to social, distance, use masks as needed, and take personal responsibility during the continuation of this pandemic."