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Oct. sales tax report breeds city optimism

The latest sales tax report shows only average revenue for Brookhaven but closes out a city fiscal year that exceeded expectations.

     The state Department of Revenue’s October sales tax report, indicating taxes collected on September sales activity, had Brookhaven collecting $414,165 of sales tax revenue. That’s a small increase from the approximately $407,000 of the October 2011 report.

     However, state sales tax documents show the city experiencing a steep increase, indicating only $339,000 for the city’s October 2011 report. However, that’s not the actual amount from that month, only how much the Department of Revenue paid out to the city after subtracting a significant overage from the previous month.

     This year’s September tax revenue didn’t put up blockbuster numbers, but Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner was satisfied with them.

     “That’s a little bit better than average,” he said.

     The October report also represents the final check of the city’s most recent fiscal year.

     “The city’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and this report was for September sales,” explained Bumgarner.

     Each fiscal year for the city runs from October through the end of the next September.

     In the 2011-12 fiscal year, Brookhaven collected a total of approximately $5,108,000 in sales tax revenue. The mayor found that total encouraging.

     “It was more than we budgeted for and we’ve got a trend looking up,” Bumgarner said.

     That’s an average of $425,000 per month, which is above even the current projections of $410,000 for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

     Looking toward to the next year, Bumgarner feels optimistic.

     “We’re looking forward to an even better year,” Bumgarner said. “We hope we’ve bottomed out and are looking at better things.”

     Bumgarner told aldermen at last week’s city board meeting that September sales can often be mediocre because of the back to school expenses families often have in August.

     The mayor added that he feels holiday shopping totals will be strong this year.

     The Department of Revenue is on a different fiscal year than the city and tracks yearly revenue totals beginning July 1. Since that time, the city has collected $1.68 million, just a little over the year-to-date total of $1.67 million at this time last year.

     Regional neighbors didn’t have massive months either, but did out perform Brookhaven.

     McComb collected $425,000 in sales tax, an increase of about $10,000 over last year. Natchez dropped a little bit over its totals from 2011, but still came out ahead of Brookhaven with $422,000 in sales tax revenue. Both cities are running about $30,000-$40,000 ahead of their year to date totals from this time last year.