Shoppers make July seem like holiday season

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 18, 2003

On the strength of a $48,000 increase over July 2002, Brookhavensoared back into the state Top 20 sales tax collectors in July2003, according to totals form the Mississippi Tax Commission.

At $367,987.96, Brookhaven ranked 19th in the state with itsJuly 2003 total. That was $48,621 over the same period in 2002 andwas one of the city’s highest sales tax collection months ever,said Chandler Russ, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerceexecutive vice-president.

“That is going to be right up there as one of our highesttotals,” Russ said. “It ranks as high as some of our Christmassales months.”

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The July 2003 total was eclipsed by a $388,000 collected inJanuary 2003, which reflected sales in December 2002, and $375,000collected in January 2001. This year’s July total matched $367,00collected in January 2002.

All but one of the state’s Top 20 collectors posted July 2003increases over July 2002. The lone exception was Laurel, whosetotal was down about $32,000 from $594,145.27 last year to$562,962.38 this year.

Russ said he was glad to see Brookhaven being able to out pace anumber of other communities. The $48,000 July increase nearly wipedout an almost $60,000 fiscal year decrease for the city at the endof June.

“We nearly made up all the ground we had lost to date in thecalendar year,” Russ said.

Russ attributed the increase to a shop at home message thatappears to be taking hold.

“Thanks to all our retail merchants for providing quality goodsand services, and thanks to all our citizens for keeping their taxdollars at home and shopping locally,” Russ said.

Russ was confident that Brookhaven and Lincoln County arebuilding the strongest sustainable economy in southwestMississippi.

“This is good news to see such positive numbers for the month,”Russ said.

Russ was optimistic for continued good numbers, although he didnot predict holiday level sales in August totals.

“I don’t expect it to be that much higher next month,” Russsaid. “It should be strong and healthy, but I don’t believe it willbe along the lines of Christmas sales month numbers.”

July represents the start of the state’s fiscal year. Therefore,the July sales tax totals are the same as year-to-datecollections.

In other parts of southwest Mississippi, McComb collections roseto $36,957.63 in July sales tax. The July 2003 total, which placedthe city 17th in the state, represented an increase of about$65,000 from the July 2002 total of $371,539.80.

Also in Pike County, Summit businesses gathered $20,801.51 inJuly sales tax, up from last July’s $19,050.30.

In Lawrence County, Monticello merchants took in $36,923.61 forthe city’s share of July 2002 sales tax, a modest increase fromJuly 2002’s $33,238.63.

Wesson businesses’ July sales tax collections were up over$3,000 to $12,940.83, compared to $9,574.68 last July.

To the west in Franklin County, Bude businesses rang up$8,093.39 for the town, a slight increase compared to July 2002’s$7,542.93. Meadville merchants took in $10,282.58 in July 2002,which was up substantially from July 2002 with $7,590.73.

Statewide, sales tax collections in July 2003 were up almost $3million from July 2002. The July 2003 total was $29,771,797.61 andthe July 2002 total was $26,895,626.43.

“It was a real positive month as a whole for the state,” Russsaid. “Collections were up across the state.”