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Pre-holiday totals show ‘disappointing’ trend

Brookhaven continued a “disappointing” trend in November as thecity’s share of sales tax was again below that of the same month in2005, according to totals from the Mississippi Tax Commission.

At $361,049.71 last month, Brookhaven’s collections were downover $60,000 from November 2005’s $422,891.93. November collectionsrepresent sales made in October.

Mayor Bob Massengill said he compares 22 similarly sized citiesto gauge their sales tax activity. Last month, he said, only fourposted increases over the previous November.

“Eighteen of us had a decrease this year compared to last year,”Massengill said. “That concerns me.”

Of the 22, the mayor said, Brookhaven ranked seventh last yearand ninth this year. Statewide, Brookhaven placed 26th.

Massengill mentioned several sales tax percentage declines amongthe 22 cities. He said Brookhaven’s collections last month weredown 15 percent, Brandon’s 13 percent, Natchez’s 7 percent andMcComb’s 22 percent.

“I’m not saying misery loves company. I’m saying this situationin not unique to Brookhaven,” Massengill said.

Last November’s totals reflected sales activity in the wake ofHurricane Katrina. Massengill indicated it was hard to quantify howmuch that activity impacted sales tax, but he said it was “morethan we thought.”

Comparing Brookhaven’s November 2006 total to November 2004finds the city with an increase of about $24,000. The November 2004total was $327,978.

For the fiscal year to date, Brookhaven’s 2006 pace was stilloff that of 2005. This year’s overall total is $1,911,034.96compared to $1,970,053.16 at the same point in 2005.

Massengill said the solution to improving sales tax collectionsis for Brookhaven residents to shop at local store and businesses.He also cited the importance the automobile sales industry plays onthe local economy.

With the holiday buying season to be reflected in the monthsahead, city officials were hopeful for better totals.

“Our hope is, starting with the first of the year, our sales taxwill pick up and get back on track,” said City Clerk MikeJinks.