April 17, 2014 10:40:54 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Sales tax revenue in West Point was up significantly in February compared to that month last year, while Columbus and Starkville revenues were slightly down.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue, which collects 81.5 percent of the 7 percent sales tax from businesses statewide and distributes the rest back to municipalities, reported a tax diversion of $185,594.82 in West Point, a $16,211.46 increase from February 2013. Columbus received $685,654.95, which is down $12,730.77 from what it received from last February's collection. Starkville saw a smaller dip in diversions, down $2,202.92 from February 2013. Starkville's February receipt from MDR was $473,019.79.
This month's reports reflect 18.5 percent of all the 7 percent tax collected in February.
Columbus has received $4,987,434 through seven months in the 2013-14 fiscal year. Starkville marks the start of its yearly collection period in January instead of the beginning of the fiscal year in October, so it shows a distribution of $910,165 through two months. West Point marks the beginning of its collection period in May. Through 10 months, the city has received $1,845,475.23, which is a $91,992.80 increase from the 10-month mark in 2013. For the ninth straight month, West Point has seen some sort of sales tax revenue increase ranging from $1,054 last June to as high as $17,934.27 in November.
Hotel stays in West Point in February also improved over that month last year. This month's diversion was $18,136.84, a $3,208.35 bump from February 2013's $14,928.49. Overall, however, tourism revenue is still down $6,723 through 10 months this year compared to a year ago.
Tourism revenues were also up in Starkville. It generated a $138,667.37 return from the MDR from February hotel stays. That's a $6,576.71 increase from $132,190.66 received last April from February 2013 hotel stays.
Columbus tourism tax revenues dipped $11,636.63 from $128,846.53 the city received last April to $117,209.90 this month. The tourism tax, which funds the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau, comes from restaurants. The city's motel tax revenue, which is separate from the tourism tax, was down as well. The latest revenue report indicates $15,635.53 was received by the city this month for February activity. It received $19,113.85 last April. That is a $3,478.32 decrease.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.