May 19, 2015

Watford’s taxable sales top $283 million in 2014

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Even though North Dakota oil prices began a downward spiral in the second half of 2014, Watford City’s and McKenzie County’s taxable sales continued to grow at more than a 30 percent pace according to the North Dakota Tax Department.
For the calendar year of 2014, Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases grew 41.81 percent increasing from $199,626,637 in 2013 to $283,086,696 in 2014. During the same period, McKenzie County’s taxable sales increased from $245,805,412 to $342,746,082, a 39.44 percent increase.
According to Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, statewide, taxable sales and purchases reported during calendar year 2014 totaled $28.2 billion, an increase of nearly 11 percent over the $25.47 billion in 2013.
“Eleven percent is a substantial increase in North Dakota taxable sales and purchases, well above the two percent rate of inflation,” stated Rauschenberger. “This report shows a continuation of the rapid sales growth experienced nearly every year since 2010.”
Ten of the 15 major industry sectors saw growth from 2013 to 2014. Most notable among those showing increases was the wholesale trade industry with a $955 million increase (14.84 percent), the mining and oil extraction industry with a $806.4 million increase (18.38 percent), and the retail trade industry with a $328.77 million increase (five percent).
The industry sectors with the most noticeable decreases were the construction industry with a $22 million decrease (-2.23 percent); the utilities industry with a $18.4 million decrease (-7.38 percent); and the educational, healthcare and social services industries with a $3.85 million decrease (5.84 percent).
The annual report includes data for the 200 largest cities in North Dakota, of which 82 reported increases and 116 reported decreases compared to 2013.
Of the 200 largest cities in North Dakota, the highest percent increases of 2014 (compared to 2013) were Burlington, 198.21 percent; Davenport, 126.05 percent; Sawyer, 83.71 percent; Reeder, 83.28 percent; and Des Lacs, 82.52 percent.
“All of the cities that experienced a near doubling of the sales tax bases are small,” Rauschenberger said. “Significant growth occurred not only in the oil-rich western side of the state, but also throughout nearly every region of the state.”
Rauschenberger went on to point out that a majority of the state’s larger population centers also posted strong growth. Six of the state’s eight major metropolitan/micropolitan areas - Bismarck (.21 percent), Dickinson (19.36 percent), Fargo (West Fargo 14.55 percent; Fargo 4.12 percent), Grand Forks (.38 percent), Minot (.36 percent) and Williston (8.71 percent) - saw an increase in taxable sales and purchases in 2014. Jamestown (-4.75 percent) and Wahpeton (-3.58 percent) are the two that saw decreases.
Counties with the highest percent increases of 2014 (compared to 2013) were Dunn County, 62.41 percent; Bottineau County, 44.33 percent; McKenzie County, 39.44 percent; Slope County, 29.78 percent; and Billings County, 22.95 percent.