Cruise visitors wait in line last summer at the Ketchikan Visitors’ Bureau building to buy shore excursions. (KRBD file photo by Leila Kheiry)

The City of Ketchikan collected more than half a million more in sales taxes than expected last year.

Final sales tax numbers for 2018 were recently released in a memo from City Finance Director Bob Newell. He writes that, last year, Ketchikan collected about $12.5 million in sales taxes. That’s about $600,000 more than the city had projected, and is a new record high.

The previous record was in 2017. Last year’s numbers exceeded that by about $500,000.

Newell writes that holiday retail sales appeared to be up, and there likely were more heating-fuel purchases due to cold weather last winter. The summer months showed the largest increases in sales tax, driven largely by tourism-related spending.

The City of Ketchikan charges a 4-percent sales tax. The Ketchikan Gateway Borough has a separate 2.5 percent tax, so purchases inside city limits have a 6.5 percent total sales tax.

The borough’s final sales tax numbers for 2018 were not available yet. The borough has a different schedule for making those reports.