Sales tax totals remain strong in December

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Brookhaven continued to see strong sales tax collections at theend of 2005, although the December total was not quite as robust assome previous months, according to totals from the state TaxCommission.

The city’s share of sales tax was $402,804.03 for December, thethird straight month in which collections topped $400,000.October’s total was $464,719.33 and November’s was $422,891.93.

“For the last few months, we’re considerably ahead,” Mayor BobMassengill said about comparisons to the same months in 2004.

Brookhaven’s December 2005 total was more than $58,000 above itsDecember 2004 number. For the month, Brookhaven ranked 25th amongthe state’s top sales tax collecting cities.

Massengill said the city budgeted $350,000 a month in sales taxrevenue, for a yearly total of $4.2 million. Following a good firstquarter of the city’s fiscal year, which started October 1, he wasoptimistic about the future.

“If we stay above $400,000 a month the rest of the year, we’llbe real pleased,” said Massengill, pointing out that sales tax isthe city’s major source of revenue.

Since July, when the state fiscal year began, Brookhaven’s totalshare of sales tax is $2,373,857.19, which is more than $350,000above the $2,016,359.94 at the same point in 2004.

While McComb and Natchez took in more money, Brookhaven’sapproximately 18 percent yearly growth led the region. McComb hasseen approximately 16 percent growth in its yearly collectionswhile Natchez has experienced about 12 percent growth.

In discussing reasons for the good sales tax totals, Massengillsaid he believes the city has moved beyond post-Katrina spending.He cited good car sales and other factors.

“I think people have been shopping at home,” the mayor said.

In a nod to a continued Katrina influence, Massengill said thereare more people living in Brookhaven and the surrounding area. Hesaid the shop at home message will continue to be important into2006.

“I hope sales tax collections hold up,” Massengill said. “And ifpeople continue to shop at home, they will.”