Nov. sales tax remains strong

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fueled in part by continued spending following HurricaneKatrina, sales tax collections in Brookhaven and the rest ofsouthwest Mississippi remained strong in November, according tototals from the state Tax Commission.

At $422,891.93, Brookhaven’s share of sales tax collections forNovember was up almost $95,000 over last November’s $327,978.09.The November total represented a 28 percent increase over lastNovember’s amount.

“We’re thrilled sales tax is what it has been so far this fiscalyear,” said Mayor Bob Massengill.

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The November total followed October collections that were morethan $119,000 ahead of last October’s figures. For the city’sfiscal year, which began Oct. 1, Brookhaven has received threesales tax checks totaling over $1.275 million.

“That really has been great for the city,” Massengill said.

The mayor said sales tax is the city’s major source of income.He said collections so far are exceeding budget expectations, andthat could place the city in an even better financial shape laterin the year.

Regarding the increase, Massengill and City Clerk Mike Jinksattributed it to evacuees staying and spending money in Brookhaven,rebuilding efforts following the storm and local residents shoppingat home. The mayor added that automobile sales remain a vital partof the sales tax collections.

“This is pretty much across the board,” Massengill said aboutsales activity. “It’s not just one area that spiked up.”

Of the three largest southwest Mississippi cities, Brookhaven,McComb and Natchez, McComb had the largest monthly gain by takingin about 40 percent more than last November. Natchez’s monthlygrowth was 22 percent.

However, for the state fiscal year to date, which began July 1,Brookhaven was leading the way in growth rate by taking in 17percent more than last year. McComb’s yearly collections were up 13percent and Natchez’s up 10 percent.

In actual dollars, Brookhaven’s fiscal year 2005 total was$1,970,053.16 compared to $1,671,967.56 for fiscal year 2004.

Last month’s total placed Brookhaven 24th among the state’s topsales tax collectors. That was a bit of a drop, but only citieswith at least $400,000 in collections managed to crack the Top25.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield was optimistic the good sales taxcollections would continue for some time.

“It should be noted, though, the recent span of tremendous salestax totals will level off at some point,” he said.