December 19, 2013 9:49:34 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Sales tax revenues for the three Golden Triangle cities have something in common this month: They're higher than they were last December.
Sales tax has a three month cycle. Retailers collect taxes one month before reporting and Mississippi Department of Revenue the next. Eighteen-point-five percent of the collection is returned to each city the following month. December's diversion is based on October's collection.
Columbus' revenue showed the most drastic increase. The city received $702,848 in sales tax diversions from the Mississippi Department of Revenue. That's a $31,370.37 improvement from December 2012.
In Starkville, returns were up more than $15,000. Data shows a $485,681 disbursement to the city this month.
West Point saw a similar result. The city has a $189,704.22 payment. This month last year, that number was $174,037.51.
Through the first three months of the fiscal year, the total collection is $2,092,999 for Columbus. Starkville marks the start of its yearly collection period in January. Through 10 collection months, the city shows a total of $4,808,057, an average of $480,805 a month. That eclipses 2012's monthly average by more than $10,000.
May marks the first month of West Point's yearly collection period. Thus far it has received $1,084,092, almost $350,000 more than the revenue at last year's six-month mark.
Columbus' restaurant tax return was also up. It was $121,132 this month, a $9,479 bump from $111,653 in 2012. The motel tax fell slightly from $25,152 last December to $23,346.
Starkville's restaurant tax revenue was $16,453, up $1,378 from this month in 2012. West Point's tourism tax revenue was down for the sixth straight month, with the city receiving $22,242. That's a $3,571 deficit from December 2012.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.