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Golden Triangle sales tax returns up slightly



Nathan Gregory



Sales tax dispersions to Golden Triangle cities were up slightly in January when compared to January 2013. 


Columbus received $631,749.99 in revenues, which is a $5,536.10 increase from last January's report of $626,213.89. Starkville reached a record $437,145.21 for this month, a $6,352.27 increase from what it reported this month last year. West Point had a $5,181.16 improvement from $204,129.48 last January to $209,310.64 this January. 


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 cities over a three-month cycle. This month's reports reflect what was collected in January. 


At the midpoint of its fiscal year, Columbus has received $4,301,780 in diversions from MDR. The city budgeted $8.5 million in tax collection revenue for this fiscal year, so it is on pace to eclipse that projection when the fiscal year ends in September. 


Starkville marks the start of its yearly collection period in January and marks its returns for the month businesses collect taxes, not the month it receives diversions. While the city received $437,145.21 this month, it attributes that amount to January, unlike Columbus and West Point, which applies the figures to the month in which the numbers are released. 


West Point marks the beginning of its yearly collection period in May. The city has received $1,695,550 through nine months. That's about $188,394 a month. West Point received an average of $175,860 a month from May 2012-April 2013. 


In Columbus, restaurant and motel tax collections were down slightly. The city reported a $114,202.81 diversion for its restaurant tax this month. That's down $3,859.77 from $118,062.58 last March. The motel tax was down $3,693.47 from $17,130.20 in March 2013 to $13,436.73 this month. 


Starkville's 2 percent hotel tax revenues were down sharply from this month last year, when the city reported a return of $23,302.63. This month, that amount was only $10,839.50. That's a 53 percent decrease.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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