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November sales tax diversion’s up slightly

Brookhaven’s sales tax diversions picked up slightly in November, in large part due to the ramp up for the holiday shopping season, according to City Clerk Mike Jinks.

The city’s diversion rounded out to $460,322.01 for the month, an increase of about $5,000 compared to October’s $455,966.59. The increase comes after a steady drop over the last three months.

November’s number is basically flat compared to November 2015.

Jinks said it’s not uncommon for tax diversions to drop in the fall, only to increase around the holidays.

“There are certain times of year you’re going to have more coming in,” he said. “(The holidays) generate extra sales.”

“I think everything is showing good, healthy activity,” Garrick Combs, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce executive director, said. “The numbers tell us that we are doing well.”

Brookhaven budgets about $470,000 a month for tax diversions, but Jinks said it’s not unusual for actual diversions to go over or under that number throughout the year.

“They would appear on paper to be a little behind,” Jinks said. “A little later we’re going to be over.”

Gross sales in Brookhaven were $82,772,926 for November, down 2.31 percent from October and down 9.75 percent from November 2015, when gross sales were $91,717,612.

Gross sales for the county were $100,090,066, which represents a $10,549,231 drop from the $110,639,297 in gross sales for November 2015.

Sales tax has a three-month cycle. Month one is when the tax is collected by the retailer, month two is when the tax is reported/paid to the Department of Revenue by the retailer, and month three is when the sales tax diversion is paid by the DOR to cities.

This means the number labeled November reflects the sales tax collected in October, which the city actually receives a check for in December.