Cities edge out sales tax gains

DTL Staff
Staff Writer

Even with the continued growth of online sales, brick and mortar stores held their own during the Christmas shopping season with overall taxes collected on December retail sales increasing .8 percent across the region.

While sales tax revenues were up in 47 towns and down in 47 towns across Northeast Mississippi, they increased in large retail centers like Columbus, Starkville, West Point, Oxford, Tupelo and New Albany but fell in others like Pontotoc, Corinth, Louisville, Booneville and Amory, according to numbers from the state Department of Revenue.
Many of the increases and decreases were slight.

For instance, West Point’s revenues were up just $56 over the same month the previous year.By contrast, Eupora’s were down $19.

And while the increases in Columbus — 2.4 percent — and Starkville — .8 percent — were’t overly robust, they are significant because they marked three straight months of increases for both towns.

Since July, Starkville’s revenues are now $231,000 ahead of where they were during the same period the previous year. In Columbus, revenue since July have closed to with $22,000 of the previous year.

“We are happy to see the positive numbers. It’s been difficult, but three good months helps. We just hope it continues,” Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said.

The other three Lowndes County towns — Artesia, Caledonia and Crawford, also saw increases while Sturgis in Oktibbeha County was down.

Ackerman and Weir in Choctaw County were down while Mantee and Maben in Webster County were down along with Eupora while Mathiston was up.

In most cases, sales tax revenues make up between 30 and 45 percent of cities’ operating budgets.