August sales tax report latest good sign for community

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An upward trend of local retail activity has continued in the latest sales tax report released by the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

     The August report, detailing sales tax collected on July retail activity, showed Brookhaven receiving $415,834 in sales tax revenue, a bump from the approximately $401,000 reported in 2011’s August report.

     In the two months of sales tax activity since the state’s fiscal year began, the city has collected about $847,794 in revenue. This time last year, that total stood at $827,697.

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     Brookhaven’s strength over last year’s monthly numbers was small but notable when compared to larger regional neighbors.

     McComb dropped a little below last year, pulling in about $407,000 of revenue on the latest August report, a drop from its 2011 haul of approximately $412,000. Natchez also saw a decrease in collections, falling from $421,000 last year to about $409,000 this year.

     Local chamber of commerce director Cliff Brumfield described the August report as the latest positive indicator in a trend of upward growth that began early this year.

     “The Brookhaven market continues to emerge from the doldrums of the economy,” Brumfield said.

     An uptick in July vehicle sales helped propel these numbers and the city’s subsequent regional strength, Brumfield said. However, the importance of small, local businesses must also be noted, he said.

     Brumfield praised the cooperation he’s seen among local businesses to increase the profile of Brookhaven’s retail offerings among the community and as a destination shopping location. He highlighted Girls’ Night Out at the end of June as a successful example of the sort of cooperation he’s seeing.

     After mediocre holiday sales last year, Brumfield said many retailers are eying a push for stronger fourth quarter sales this year.

     “A lot of businesses’ owners are putting emphasis on putting their best foot forward for the end of the year,” Brumfield said.

     Brumfield wasn’t all optimism, though. He warned Brookhaven may still have some thin months ahead.

     “We’re very excited by these numbers, but our most recent month, September, was not as strong as we would have liked it to have been,” Brumfield said.

     But as local businesses ride the higher tide of retail activity that’s been reported this year, Brumfield said this should translate into real benefits for the community.

     “These businesses are our biggest employers,” Brumfield said.