Mayor hopeful despite slower sales tax totals

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mayor Les Bumgarner is optimistic about the city’s sales taxsituation, even though the June totals are back down below theprojected budget of $425,000 a month.

Brookhaven came in at $418.719.88 for June of this year, notonly below budget, but well below last June’s total of$463,322.14.

But, the mayor said, in spite of the numbers Brookhaven stillhas a lot to be thankful for.

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“I think under the circumstances we’re holding up pretty good,because times are tough,” Bumgarner said. “But people are stayingat home and shopping and we appreciate that, because everybodyreceives the benefit when you shop locally.”

Other comparably-sized towns are also down substantially fromJune of last year. McComb’s $438,284.45 is down more than $20,000from last year’s $461,366.43, and Natchez is down to $422,781.25from 2008’s $457,478.24.

Part of the lower numbers for everyone, while exacerbated by thelagging economy, is the fact that June numbers come from May sales.May tends to be a slow month for sales, Bumgarner said.

“It follows April and that’s usually a pretty good month becauseof income tax refunds and things, but May is just one of thosemonths,” he said.

And as people leave town for the summer, numbers could continueto be lower than city officials would like. But it’s just part ofthe cycle, the mayor said.

“The summer months could be down,” he said. “A lot of people areout of town and out of pocket. Usually it starts back up in Augustfor back to school, then you have the beginning of football season,then the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.”

At this point in the year, with the last month of totals to comebefore the fiscal year for the state switches over in July, two ofthe three major cities in Southwest Mississippi are behind earningsfor this time last year.

Natchez is actually ahead of its 2008 totals, with $5,328,430.44in sales tax so far this year, as opposed to last year’s$5,254,450.66.

But Brookhaven, by June of 2008, had brought in $5,252,298.16 insales tax, as opposed to this year’s $5,172, 359.50. McComb’s 2008total by June was $5,511,339.19, where 2009 totals show$5,476,011.96 for the year.

Bumgarner said, however, that considering how things could be,Brookhaven has a lot to be grateful for.

“We’re pleased. We can always do better but we’re grateful forwhat we can get,” he said. “And as for the lull, I guess that’s whythey call them ‘the dog days of summer.'”