Sales tax totals strong for April

Published 7:01 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

Things may be looking up economically in Brookhaven, at leastaccording to the latest sales tax numbers.

At $440,961, Brookhaven’s sales tax check for the month of Aprilwas up considerably – even from last year. In 2009, the city had areturn of $424,319.65, according to totals from the Mississippi TaxCommission.

City leaders see the sales tax uptick as positive momentum sinceBrookhaven has averaged roughly $405,000 this year, which is$10,000 a month less than what was written into the budget, saidMayor Les Bumgarner.

“We’ve been handling it so far,” he said.

Meanwhile other cities in Southwest Mississippi are also seeingincreases. McComb’s total for April 2010 was $475,882.91, asopposed to 2009’s $469,637.49.

Natchez saw a rise of about $2,000 from 2009’s $445,320.64 to2010’s $447,562.83.

For the year, however, Brookhaven is still behind from July 1 todate in fiscal year totals At this point in 2009, the city hadbrought in $4,307,943.74 in sales tax money, and this year cityofficials are looking at a total of $4,044,231.25.

Officials attributed the increase in April’s numbers to moreautomobile sales in March. One month’s tax collections representsales made during the previous month.

“I heard that for the month of April the car sales went welltoo,” said Bumgarner, adding that he hoped the upswing wouldcontinue.

The mayor pointed out that one reason Brookhaven needs sales taxtotals to recover is that the city is in dire need of paving. Hesaid the $320,000 allotted each year in the budget isn’t going asfar as it used to, not only due to the rise of paving costs, butalso because the annexation tripled the size of the city.

“We need to look at that at budget time,” he said.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron said he has long been of theopinion that more funds need to be devoted to paving.

“I always felt like we should do that, especially since weannexed,” he said. “There are so many streets to cover.”

Cameron inherited the Brignall community in the annexation, andthe streets there, he said, are in extreme disrepair. Cameron saidhe would like to be able to do more to help that area, but that$80,000 is not going to be enough.

“This board is to be commended for setting a certain amountaside every year,” said Bumgarner. “But we might need to startsetting more aside.”

If residents will continue to shop at home, especially on largepurchases, the sales tax should continue to recover with theeconomy, and more money might be able to be put on the pavingproblem, officials said.

“If we turn the sales tax around, this might be some money wecan put toward that,” Bumgarner said.