May sales tax totals put city in state Top 20

Published 6:58 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

Car dealers are seeing the market rebounding gradually, and thatfact bodes well for Brookhaven’s sales tax, city officialssaid.

“I think the market is definitely rebounding,” Stan KingSuperstore owner Stan King said. “But I think it will be nextspring, and maybe into summer, before the auto dealers get back towhere they were.”

King said his dealership’s individual sales tax for May has goneup $8,000 from the same time last year. Yet he said the whims ofthe market are hard to gauge.

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“Sales, it’s been kind of up, and you think it’s coming backstrong, then it’ll slow down a little bit,” he said.

Meanwhile, Brookhaven city officials are cautiously optimisticas sales tax numbers begin to climb back above budget predictions.In budget talks last year, aldermen attempted to prepare for theworst economic situation by setting budgetary forecasts at $415,000a month, down $10,000 monthly from recent years, in sales taxcollections.

For May 2010, Brookhaven came in with $434,540.97 in sales taxreturns, as opposed to May 2009’s $445,695.88. This brings the cityto a year-to-date total of $4,478,772.22, which is $274,867.40below last year’s $4,753,639.62 at the same time.

Although Brookhaven’s total was down from last May, the May 2010total placed the city at Number 20 among the state’s top sales taxcollectors.

Mayor Les Bumgarner said May was the second month in a row thatthe sales tax numbers were above the projections, but it was alsothe second month in the last seven that Brookhaven has come out ontop of both McComb and Natchez in the numbers.

“Everyone says we’ve got good car dealerships,” Bumgarner said,”But we beat Brandon too, and they also have some strong cardealerships.”

Brandon brought in $389,598.94 for May 2010, as which tops2009’s $368,486.95.

McComb was up considerably from this time last year, at$421,000.43 for May 2010, as opposed to last year’s $391,855.78.That brings the Pike County seat to $4,674,113.46 for the year,which is well behind 2009’s $5,037,727.51 at the same time of theyear.

Natchez is only slightly up from last year, with $429,498.23 forMay 2010. May 2009 was about $4500 lower at $424,938.08. AndNatchez’s $4,645,673.74 to date for 2010 also lags behind 2009’s$4,905,649.19.

But back at home, the backlash of the oil spill still on GulfCoast has dealers like King keeping an eye on things.

“We do sell a lot of offshore workers’ vehicles, and at thispoint we’re right in the edge so we can’t tell if it’s hurting yet,but it all depends on how many of those guys get put out of work,”King said. “At this point, it hasn’t affected us, but looking atthe numbers from the Gulf Coast, the GM dealerships, it’sdrastically affected them.”