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Retiring financial officer Lance Brown was the bearer of good tidings Tuesday in delivering the final quarterly sales-tax revenue report of his 28-year Salt Lake County career.

The county's share of sales taxes last year approached $143.7 million, an increase of $8.7 million from 2013. Not only was that 6.5 percent ahead of the previous year's revenues, he told the County Council, it was also 2.3 percent better than what they projected in the 2014 budget.

"It's really good news," Brown added in the deadpan voice characteristic of this consummate government financial officer, with his sharp business suit, unflappable nature and penchant for slipping a little accountant humor into sales-tax reports.

Brown's straightforward approach to his job drew high praise Tuesday from the County Council — followed by a standing ovation from the council and a couple dozen county employees attending the weekly meeting.

"You will be sorely missed," longtime Councilman Jim Bradley said.

"It's been a great experience. I'll have 28 years here on May 1 and it's time for me to move onto that next chapter," Brown replied calmly. "I'll go ahead and move into the sales-tax report."

What makes the $8.7 million year-over-year increase so good, he said, is that all seven categories of sales taxes showed solid gains.

In the biggest category, the quarter-cent county option tax imposed on sales throughout the county, revenue was up 5.2 percent. That alone amounted to $51.9 million, more than one-third of the $143.7 million total.

The 1 cent local option tax, which is imposed in unincorporated areas to finance the delivery of public works services there — including snowplowing; work on roads, curbs, gutters and sidewalks; animal control services; and planning and zoning — was up 4.1 percent to $22.7 million.

A rebounding convention and tourism market resulted in car rental taxes being up 14 percent, while hotel-room taxes went up 9 percent and restaurant taxes 7.3 percent. A small tax collected to support the county's Zoo, Arts and Parks program saw its revenues climb 4.8 percent last year to $20.2 million.

Brown noted that December capped the year in fine fashion. Sales tax receipts that month alone were $14.8 million, up 15 percent (or $1.9 million) over December of 2013.

He then cited a recent report by the respected Fitch Ratings service that said Salt Lake is poised for long-term growth as the hub of a large, diverse regional economy.

"The county is in good economic position" were Brown's parting words. Twitter: