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Brookhaven sales tax close, but lagging

The City of Brookhaven’s share of local sales taxes is lagging behind just a bit three months into the fiscal year, but the money should start to roll in January when the Christmas season’s spending is tallied.

Sales tax diversion data from the Mississippi Department of Revenue shows the city’s share of sales taxes since July 1 is $1,407,683, an amount that is almost $27,000 behind the $1,434,452 collected during the same period in 2017. But September’s 30-day total is around $10,000 more than the $474,692 collected in 2017, and Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garrick Combs is expecting traditional big payouts from holiday shopping to give tax collections a boost.

“I would hope to have a strong holiday season locally — we are looking forward to Christmas Open House in November and the holiday shopping season to finish the year out strong,” he said.

If 2018 mirrors 2017, sales tax collections for October, November and December will be relatively average. In fact, tax diversions for the final quarter were among the lowest last year, with the three fall months hovering just a few thousand dollars above February and March, the lowest totals every year — especially in 2018, when February’s reported figures dipped down to $412,451, around $64,000 below the 2018 average of $476,000 per month.

But the big payday from December’s shopping will be added up by the state in January and sent down to the city in February.

Last year, the state reported collecting $533,666 in December sales taxes from Brookhaven, meaning local shoppers dropped around $7.62 million — the other 93 percent — in Ole Brook businesses for Christmas. Brookhaven also collected an additional 2 percent on hotels and bed and breakfasts, but the state reports do not break down the totals.

The city’s other big months are in April, when Brookhavenites burn their tax refunds. The state collected $518,675 during that month last year, and it increased to $529,491 in 2018. June is the only other month tax diversions jump into the half-million-dollar range, with the first month of summer bringing in $513,091 last year and $522,458 this year.

Around the region, the City of McComb is off to a better start in Fiscal Year 2019 — it collected $466,138 in September, nearly $22,000 better than the same month in 2017. McComb is also above its year-to-date collections, having brought in $1.44 million since July 1, compared to $1.38 million for the same period last year.

Natchez is turning in lower numbers than Brookhaven or McComb, but is still trending to the good. The River City collected $429,761 in September, about $10,000 more than last year. Since July 1, Natchez has collected $1.29 million, while last year’s amount for the same 60 days was $1.26 million.

Around Mississippi, cities similar in size to Brookhaven include Cleveland, which collected $315,648 in September; Corinth, which collected $513,154; Greenwood, which brought in $393,885; Grenada at $387,508; and Richland at $532,035.

Naturally, the state’s metro areas are the kings of cash — Jackson pulled in $2.47 million in September, Hattiesburg collected $1.91 million, Gulfport got $1.8 million and Tupelo brought in $1.75 million. Jackson is over $7 million since July 1, and the other three cities are above $5 million.

The Village of Paden in Tishomingo County — population: 116, on the east bank of Mackeys Creek before it becomes the Tennesee-Tombigbee Waterway — collected $51.32 in September, meaning locals and passersby shelled out $733 for purchases.