City sees positive Dec. sales tax total

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2010

As the state’s economy seems to be inching out of recession,Brookhaven’s sales tax numbers for December are starting to look alittle better as well, officials said.

Brookhaven even topped last year’s December total by about $4,000according to statistics issued by the Mississippi State TaxCommission. The check for December 2009 came in at $399,303.32,while 2008 showed a total of $395,611.54.

Mayor Les Bumgarner said he tracks 22 cities that are of similarsize to Brookhaven across the state, and of those 17 had increasesin sales tax numbers.

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“And of those, we’re number seven out of 22,” he said. “We’re stillbelow what we projected in our budget, though.”

The city has a $415,000 sales tax projection per month in thisyear’s budget. So far the city has not met the budgeted figure inthe light of the economy slump.

Bumgarner said hopefully the Christmas season will be the breakingpoint to bring the city’s tax income back to where it needs tobe.

“If we make up the slack in December’s sales, we may not need toreaddress the budget,” he said. “We need to make it up next month.Hopefully we can with a little cushion.”

For the month, Brookhaven ranked 23rd among the state’s top salestax collectors.

McComb’s sales tax is down considerably from this time last year,at $420,375.23. In December of 2008, they showed sales tax numbersof $456,610.79. Natchez fell even farther, from 2008’s $457,276.28to 2009’s $409,968.65.

Officials have often pointed at Madison as a city worth watching incomparison to Brookhaven size and culture-wise. Madison was up fromlast year’s figures, with a total of $376,473.64 in 2009 as opposedto $358,265.97 in 2008.

Meanwhile, college towns Oxford and Starkville both alsoexperienced positive momentum in the numbers from last year. Oxfordwas up to $522,206.27 from 2008’s $483,382.52. Starkville showed a$42,000 increase from $403,287.62 last year to this year’s$445,490.72.

Back on the home front, city officials said they hope the upwardtrend continues, because if not, they will have to take a long,hard look at the budget for the rest of the fiscal year.

“Next month will be critical,” Bumgarner said about January’stotals, which reflect sales made in December. “It depends on how itcomes out as to whether we have to readdress the budget.”

Some aldermen reported hearing positive feedback from localmerchants.

“I think Christmas was good,” said Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell.”I’m hearing from some of the bigger businesses that they’re alsohaving a good January.”