Oct. sales-tax receipts best in memory

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

Community officials celebrated a record month for sales-taxcollections when the city’s check arrived from the state TaxCommission Wednesday.

At $464,719.33, Brookhaven’s share of October sales tax was morethan $119,000 greater than October 2004’s total of $345,635.35.

“It’s the largest month I can remember in the 12 years I’ve beenhere,” City Clerk Mike Jinks said.

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The total placed Brookhaven 20th among the state’s topcollectors. The October check represented sales made in September,when the city was seeing an increased population and other effectsof Hurricane Katrina.

“The phenomenal increase is due to many nights of 100 percentoccupancy of hotels and resulting sales at convenience stores,restaurants, grocery stores and dry goods retailers,” said CliffBrumfield, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce executivevice president.

Chamber President Lavelle Sullivan agreed, mentioning generatorsales and other emergency purchases.

“All that adds up,” Sullivan said. “Hopefully, that trend willcontinue.”

Also, Brumfield attributed part of the increase to local andarea residents purchasing supplies at home improvement stores tomake repairs following the storm.

“Brookhaven was back online much sooner than some of the ruraltowns in our vicinity,” Brumfield said, adding that that helpedfunnel shoppers to the city to purchase needed supplies. “It issurprising to see the numbers this high in light of the fact someretailers were shut down a few days or a week in September.”

Sullivan, who owns an automobile dealership, cited automobilesales and repairs in influencing totals.

“We exceeded last year’s numbers,” Sullivan said about hisdealership’s activity.

Sullivan said 16 percent of automobile sales were titled toLouisiana addresses. In those cases, he said, taxes go to the otherstate, so the city’s numbers do not reflect those sales.

However, what did impact Brookhaven totals were increasedautomobile body work and repairs done at the dealership followingthe storm, Sullivan said.

For the fiscal year to date, which started in July, Brookhaven’ssales tax collections were up more than $200,000. The city’s totalthis year was $1,547,161.23 compared to $1,343,989.47 last fiscalyear.

Chamber officials had cause to be optimistic about the comingmonths and rest of the fiscal year. Brumfield mentioned largecrowds who came to Brookhaven this past weekend for Christmas OpenHouse retail activities.

“The chamber is excited to see tremendous growth in shoppinginterest from our neighboring communities,” Brumfield said. “Wehope the momentum continues into 2006, and we want to support andfurther develop efforts to market Brookhaven as destinationshopping area.”