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Good economic news evident in community

Good news can be found for those willing to look.

     Despite a statewide evaluation that Mississippi slipped into recession during the second quarter of this year, economic numbers for Brookhaven and Lincoln County remain steady as we approach the final quarter of 2012.

     For the state fiscal year that ended in June, Brookhaven’s sales tax totals again topped $5 million and surpassed those of the previous year by a small margin. That trend prompted city leaders to increase their expected monthly sales tax revenue estimate.

     Higher sales tax totals mean retail stores and service providers are doing business. And that breeds optimism for the future.

     Evidence of that can be seen in the number of ribbon cuttings the chamber of commerce has held this year. Including two planned for this week, records indicate 21 ribbons have been cut for such ventures as new businesses, new locations or renovations to existing operations.

     While new businesses are most welcome, relocations and renovations are also part of a local economy. All three represent investments in the community and optimism by owners that the local future is bright.

     And one doesn’t have to look far to see the prospects for more ribbon cuttings and similar celebrations in the future.

     On Brookway Boulevard, work continues on a long-stalled Holiday Inn Express, and C Spire is moving dirt for a new building in front of Brookhaven Plaza, which also is in the process of adding more retail tenants. On Highway 51, the sign for a new Jeff Wilson auto dealership has gone up and Tillman Furniture has broken ground at a new location nearby.

     In the county, Dollar General continues to increase its presence with planned stores on Highway 84 and in the Bogue Chitto area. This follows the opening of stores in Loyd Star and East Lincoln within the last year or so.

     At just under 10 percent in the latest totals, unemployment remains a troublesome detractor to the bright outlook for the local area. However, we still have the lowest county rate in Southwest Mississippi.

     Some national signs are suggesting that the economic downturn is starting to rebound. If so, Brookhaven and Lincoln County may be able find more good news in the days, weeks and months ahead.