PLEASANT HILL -- French fries, footballs and fuel are paying off for Pleasant Hill.
Sales tax revenue is 6 percent higher in the first quarter of the fiscal year that began July 1, than it was at the same point last year, according to Mary McCarthy, the city's finance director.
The lion's share of the $1.3 million sales tax dollars the city has collected so far came from the consumer goods category, with significant contributions from the new Safeway gas station, In-N-Out Burger and Big 5 Sporting Goods.
More than half the city's sales tax dollars come from the consumer goods sector, compared with the statewide average of 28 percent, McCarthy said.
The city is on track to meet the projected $6.9 million in sales tax included in the two-year budget the City Council adopted in June, according to McCarthy.
Sales tax dollars make up more than a third of the city's general fund revenue. Pleasant Hill has not collected more than $7 million in sales tax dollars since the 2007-2008 fiscal year.
During a recent presentation of the quarterly financial report, Councilman David Durant pointed out that this fiscal year will be the first time Pleasant Hill gets close to collecting the amount of sales tax it had eight years ago.
"If anybody has any doubts about what the economic condition has been, to me that's the clearest indication of it," he said. "It's been a long time for us to get back to this point and a lot of effort by our staff in both attracting new businesses to our community and helping to support the efforts of our primary property owners to get their places full and tenanted.
"Knock wood, we seem to be on the up-slope and it's nice to see that number," Durant added.
The projections included in the budget assume new businesses will open in the city and consumers will spend more money as the unemployment rate falls. Already, city leaders are looking forward to next year when the city will add more retail businesses.
Zachary's Pizza, home of the Chicago-style deep-dish pie, is on track to open in mid-January near the intersection of Crescent Drive and Crescent Plaza in downtown Pleasant Hill.
Corner Bakery Cafe, a chain of casual restaurants that serve sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods, plans to take over the 2,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by Yan Can and the 1,476-square-foot storefront next door. The cafe is tentatively scheduled to open in May, according to Kelly Calhoun, Pleasant Hill economic development manager.
Finally, Nordstrom Rack is scheduled to open in August in Sunvalley mall. Although the mall is in Concord, the store will be in Pleasant Hill.
It's not all good news, though. The Kmart store in the DVC Plaza shopping center on Contra Costa Boulevard is scheduled to close in mid-January. The recession and sluggish recovery have hampered plans to redevelop the outdated shopping center. Representatives for Grosvenor, an international property development firm which owns DVC Plaza, could not be reached. But Calhoun said the company is working with Lafayette-based Main Street Properties, Inc. to attract anchor tenants.
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.