Sales tax revenue dips below last year

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 28, 2009

Brookhaven leaders are encouraging local people to shop at homemore than ever in the wake of the closing of Columbus Lumber, butalso with August’s sales tax numbers coming in $60,000 below thesame time last year.

Brookhaven’s $406,474.78 check for August 2009 is about $8,500below the city’s budgeted $415,000 for this year, while last year’s$466,360.17 was well above the $425,000 per month budgeted in2008.

“Although we’d like to see the numbers higher this report reallycomes as no surprise,” said Brookhaven Lincoln County Chamber ofCommerce Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield. “Our summernumbers tend to be somewhat lower because people are alreadyspending their savings in travel, vacations, etc.”

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McComb’s $423,592.78 is also down from last year, when theybrought in $451,552.97, and the August 2009 check for Natchez camein at $425,340, down more than $30,000 from last year’s$456,573.54.

Brumfield also said the Cash for Clunkers program has affectedsales tax this month, as the large influx of money from the successof the program has not been counted at this point.

“Automotive sales numbers brought in by the spike from the Cashfor Clunkers program are not reflected yet,” Brumfield said. “Thisdoes not represent all the Cash for Clunkers money. We doanticipate this number to increase with next month’s report.”

Other cities around the state are experiencing the same dropthis month, with Oxford down to $438,939.87 from last year’s$470,742.72. Starkville’s $413,089.75 is down $30,000 from the$443,649.77 they brought in last year as well.

Thursday’s closing of Columbus Lumber will also impact the localeconomy, Brumfield said, though it’s hard to tell how much thisearly.

“We’ll expect Columbus Lumber’s closure to definitely have animpact on our sales tax,” he said. “To what degree we’ll have tosee.”

Meanwhile, the holiday shopping season will prove integral tothe economic health of the city.

“With Brookhaven’s strong presence as a destination retailcenter, the coming months will bring a much higher sales taxreport,” Brumfield said. “As the economy in general improves, whichit is, we’ll also see additional increases.”