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Sales tax return offers positive sign for city

Brookhaven posted a slight increase in sales tax collections forAugust, which was good enough to keep the city among the state’sTop 20 collectors for the month, according to totals from theMississippi Tax Commission.

The $326,710.04 for August 2003 was almost $5,000 ahead of theAugust 2002 total of $321,962.01. August sales tax returnsrepresent purchases made in July.

Although the increase was small, it was an increasenevertheless, said Chandler Russ, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamberof Commerce executive vice-president. Sales tax returns were alsoup in July, the start of the state’s fiscal year.

“It’s a really positive sign of some steady growth over twoconsecutive months,” Russ said.

In fiscal year to date collections, Brookhaven’s 2003 pace wasmore than $53,000 ahead of 2002. This year, the city had$694,698.00 compared to $641,328.42 at the same point lastyear.

“The trend for the first two months is a good sign. Hopefully,we’ll continue that,” said Russ, who attributed part of the successto an aggressive shop local campaign that emphasized the importanceof keeping sales tax dollars at home.

For August, Brookhaven barely surpassed Horn Lake’s $326,382.33for 20th place on the statewide sales tax collector list. Russpredicted some ranking fluctuation in the coming months as footballgames in Oxford and Starkville help those cities’ collections.

“You’re going to have some seasonal factors that move us in andout of the Top 20,” Russ said.

Still, Russ pointed out that while Brookhaven hovers around 20thin sales tax collections, its population is only 28th or 29th inthe state. He cited Brookhaven’s success in attracting areashoppers.

“We continue to develop as a services and retail center forsouthwest Mississippi,” Russ said.

In other parts of southwest Mississippi, McComb collections roseto $372,011.42 from August sales tax. The August 2003 total, whichplaced the city 18th in the state, represented an increase of about$9,000 from the August 2002 total of $363,140.87.

After two months of the state’s fiscal year, McComb had$808,969.05 in 2003 and $734,680.67 at the same point in 2002.

Also in Pike County, Summit businesses gathered $18,816.45 inAugust sales tax, a minimal decrease from last August’s $18,269.08.So far in the fiscal year, the city had $39,617.96 this yearcompared to $37,319.38 last year.

In Lawrence County, Monticello merchants took in $30,209.71 forthe city’s share of August 2002 sales tax, a slight increase fromAugust 2002’s $29,677.54. The city was also ahead in fiscal year todate collections with $67,133.32 in 2003 and $62,916.17 in2002.

Wesson businesses’ August sales tax collections were up about$200 to $9,353.23, compared to $9,186.69 last August. In year todate collections, the town had $22,294.06 for 2003 and $18,761.37in 2002.

To the west in Franklin County, Bude businesses rang up$8,190.57 for the town, which was down almost $1,700 versus August2002’s $9,882.74. That decline also kept the town behind its yearto date pace, with $16,283.96 in 2003 and $17,425.67 last year.

Meadville merchants took in $7,708.18 in August 2002, which wasdown from August 2002 with $8,157.44. However, the town remainedahead of its 2002 pace with $17,990.76 this year and $15,748.17last year.

Statewide, sales tax collection dispersals to communities inAugust 2003 were up less than $1 million from August 2002. TheAugust 2003 total was $26,877,265.97 and the August 2002 total was$25,903,664.97.