September 20, 2013 9:53:02 AM
A roller coaster year for sales tax collections in Columbus ended on a high note this month.
The city collected $685,376.78 in non-food, beverage and hotel taxes in July, a $26,442.01 increase over $658,934.77 in July 2012. But all together, the city ended up with $152,187.55 less for 2012-13 than 2011-12.
The total for this fiscal year amounted to $8,624,193.49. Last year's collections were $8,776,381.04.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue collects 81.5 percent of the 7 percent sales tax from municipalities and distributes the remaining 18.5 percent back to the municipalities over a three-month cycle. September reports reflect July collections.
There were only three months during the fiscal year -- October, July and September -- when collections were higher than the same month's during previous fiscal year. At one point, collections were down for eight consecutive months.
September's distributions reflect the highest month-over-month increase experienced in 2012-13.
The city's restaurant tax collection also increased. Columbus collected $123,370.42 in June, besting June 2012's collection by $2,189.29.
Motel taxes saw a minimal decrease. The city reported $20,891.86 in hotel tax collections, a $52.38 decrease from this month last year.
West Point numbers up
West Point's September returns also saw an improvement. The city's July collections totaled $171,336.28, a $2,356.51 increase over $168,979.77 in 2012.
May returns mark the start of West Point's yearly tax totals. Since then, the city has collected $523,735.49 from general collections. In all, the city collected $2.11 million in 2012.
Tourism revenues declined $1,947.85 from last September, totaling $18,938.23.
Yearly sales tax collections
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.