BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin Editor

egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - It may not have been a very white Christmas in 2012, but it appears that in Van Wert County it was greener that previous Decembers.

Sales tax collection figures from December released this week show an increase in retail sales in the county by nearly 21 percent. That equates to an additional $65,596.20 in the county coffers over the December 2011 collection, and a sizable jump for .

County Treasurer Bev Fuerst had been anticipating the December collection reports which were reported this month. A healthier Christmas shopping season is good news to the area which is trying to complete a comeback from the economic downturn over the past four years. During that time, unemployment in the county rose to more than 15 percent before dropping to 7.0 percent at the end of 2012. Unemployment figures for Van Wert County from January are due to be released on March 12.

Collections from retail sales come from the 1.5 percent sales tax collected by Van Wert County on items sold within the county.

The fact that December 2012 collections had such a large increase is especially good news since collections from December 2011 had taken a three percent fall over the previous year.

The overall trend for retail sales in Van Wert County has been good over the past three years. The numbers show an 11 percent jump in sales tax collections from 2009 to 2010, followed by a 7.2 percent increase the next year and a two and a quarter percent hike in 2012. After two months of collections in 2013 (for the months of November and December 2012 sales), collections are up by 12.5 percent over the same months the previous year.