Sales tax returns are cause for optimism

March 22, 2013 10:56:24 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Starkville posted its second-highest January sales tax returns this year, according to data released by the city earlier this week. 


The city collected $430,732.94 in January, a first-month total only eclipsed by approximately $18,000 in 2010. Comparatively, the city collected approximately $10,000 more this year than January 2012, the second-lowest grossing month of that year. 


Sales tax returns have consistently improved every year but one since 2001. Those revenues failed to eclipse $4 million mark only in 2001. Last year, the city fell approximately $360,000 shy from the $6 million mark. Sales taxes have generated $2.9 million so far this fiscal year, and the city is outpacing last fiscal year's monthly average by approximately $21,000. 


January also proved fruitful for 2 percent food and beverage returns. The city collected $131,985.45 for the month, an almost 32 percent increase from January 2012. That mark outpaces last year's $125,092.61 monthly average, the highest figure posted on record. 


Starkville also posted its second-highest two percent returns from hotel taxes. The city collected $23,302.63, a mark that falls approximately $5,500 shy of the April 2012 record. January's figure also outpaces the 2011's and 2012's monthly average, a figure which failed to break the $15,000 mark. 


A portion of the 2 percent taxes returns to the city, while the remainder is split between various organizations, including tourism initiatives, Starkville Parks and Recreations and Mississippi State University student programs. 


Continued growth with sales tax returns is important to city officials since aldermen approved construction plans in June for a new city hall and renovations to its current home. That plan utilizes money free in the city's budget, soon-to-be-retired debt and projected revenues toward a 20-year lease-purchase agreement funded by certificates of participation.  


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch