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Sales tax total continues positive trend

Brookhaven’s sales tax numbers continue to warm up after achilly winter, as local sales increased in April for the secondmonth in a row.

The sales tax numbers for April, which reflect March’s sales,proved that business in Brookhaven is in full bloom. Local salestax numbers were larger than that of some bigger cities and ontrack with some area neighbors.

“This continues the trend of seeing our numbers rebound,” saidBrookhaven-Lincoln County Executive Vice President CliffBrumfield.

The city’s April sales tax numbers came in at $452,583.89, whichwas $11,622.85 more than revenue diverted to Brookhaven duringApril of last year. Brookhaven’s April 2011 total was $21,273.85less than Natchez and $19,378.25 less than McComb’s sales taxnumbers.

“This is a good sign for Southwest Mississippi, that not onlyBrookhaven, but Natchez and McComb are posting similar increases intheir numbers,” said Brumfield.

While Brookhaven may be trailing the sales of McComb andNatchez, the city held its own during April when compared tosimilarly-sized cities.

Brookhaven’s sales tax numbers were greater than those ofBatesville, Clinton, Greenwood, Madison and even squeaked ahead ofStarkville by $3,503.95, putting Homeseekers Paradise eighth out ofa list of 21 cities of similar size.

“The reason we went up a notch is because we beat Starkville,and they’re in school,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner at Tuesday’saldermen meeting. “That’s pretty impressive.”

While Brumfiled said gas prices are a part of the inflated salestax numbers, he also said community members are beginning toreplace many of the items they chose to forego at the end of theholiday seasons.

“People are ready to move on with their lives and they’restarting to make those improvements in seeing that the sun doesn’tstop shining when you spend your hard-earned money,” saidBrumfield. “As soon as we all realize that, the quicker we’ll betotally back on track to a pre-recession economy.”

From July 1 to date, Brookhaven had racked up $4,142,965.88 insales tax revenue, which was $98,734.63 more than this time lastyear.

“As always the best antidote for increasing sales tax is to shopat home,” said Brumfield. “If you can’t find it here, at least giveus your first shot.”

Looking ahead, May’s sales tax numbers – which reflect April’ssales – may not be as strong as March’s sales tax numbers.

Brumfield said next month’s numbers might not be as greatbecause people tend to do some work outside their homes and go outof town on spring break. Also, April is the deadline for filingfederal and state income taxes.

“We see some retraction in the market in some years,” saidBrumfield of April’s sales. “Indications so far hold we’ll mostlikely see some, but don’t expect it be a dismal month either.”

With the summer months approaching quickly and summer vacationsto follow, the sales waters may become a little choppy. However,rising gas prices could keep people and local dollars closer tohome.

“No matter what you think you might be saving by going to thatbig box (retail store) 60 miles from here, when you add the cost ofthe day’s trip and the fuel to it, not only are you spending a lotmore money if you stopped and looked around, you’d find that youcan buy the same item here probably for less without the additionalexpense of time and effort,” said Brumfield.