City boasts strong sales tax collections

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The latest sales tax report is in, and cityand economic leaders are excited by the city’s big numbers.

    The September report shows that the city earned $505,090.11 in themonth of August, significantly higher than the approximately$401,000 collected the previous month.

    “That’s a shot in the arm right there,” said Mayor LesBumgarner.

    The September report indicates growth from last year and from theprevious year. The September 2010 report shows $402,285.52 in salestax revenue.

    The city’s July 1 to date total stands at $1,332,787.96. The July 1to date total in September last year was $1,255,706.21.

    The upward trends put Brookhaven well ahead of regional cities.

    McComb’s August revenue came in at $410,954.14, a slight drop fromits previous month’s total of approximately $412,000. Natchez tookin $419,120.39 in its most recent report, a drop of around $3,000from the prior month.

    Brookhaven also showed strength throughout the state. It came in atNo. 16 in the state – up several spots from its usual position inthe low 20s – in sales tax collections for the Septemberreports.

    Bumgarner keeps a list of 20 cities comparable in size toBrookhaven that he uses to rank sales tax collections.

    “Usually we come in at the middle,” said Bumgarner, pointing thatBrookhaven was at the top for September and surpassed a number ofcities for the first time ever.

    The fact that regional cities such as McComb and Natchez remainedcomparable to their previous month while Brookhaven saw such growthis unusual, said Bumgarner.

    “Very seldom do you go up and everyone else stays the same,” themayor said.

    Strong numbers were expected, but not to the extent that occurred,said Cliff Brumfield, Brookhaven-Lincoln County executive vicepresident.

    “I expected 450,000, 460,000,” Brumfield said. “But we welcome thenews.”

    Brumfield estimated it has been more than 18 months since the citycollected $500,000 or more in sales tax revenue.

    Brumfield said a business possibly could have filed its sales taxin July late. If so, their collections would have been added to theAugust totals.

    “It happens,” Brumfield said. “If you don’t file on time you pay afine.”

    However, Brumfield said he has not seen any indication that anyonefiled late.

    “It looks like we just had a surprisingly good month,” he said. “Iwould love to see it continue. “

    Bumgarner said he has talked to many of the local car dealers andthey all report big months in August.

    Bumgarner also credited back-to-school shopping in August for thestrong month.

    August falls under Brookhaven’s 2010-11 fiscal year, which wasbudgeted at $400,000 a month in sales tax revenue. The 2011-12fiscal year, which began in October, is budgeted at $410,000.