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Car sales rev up city sales tax numbers

NATCHEZ — Sales tax revenues are up in Natchez for the fifth consecutive month.

The city collected $434,825 in June, up from $422,420 in June 2009. Sales tax collections are reported two months after the fact.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway attributes the 2.9 percent increase to steady out-of-towner traffic and car sales.

“We still had a lot of people in town for conventions, and I think car sales were up during that month,” Holloway said.

“I think July will be another active month, and hopefully the increase will continue. I don’t feel like we’ll see a decrease.”

Area car dealers agree with Holloway’s assessment.

Carl Rogel, general manager of East Honda on John R. Junkin Drive, said the dealership has experienced a significant boost in sales.

“We’re up 75 percent compared to last year,” Rogel said. “(Sales) are not where they were two years ago, but a lot more people are getting out, adjusting to new budgets and getting back into the market.

“I think people are starting to understand the importance of the local economy, which is a good thing for the whole community.”

Rogel said East Honda sold approximately 50 cars per month last year. Currently, East Honda sells 80 to 90 cars per month.

Eugene Monagan, owner of Heritage Chrysler Dodge Jeep on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive, said he has only experienced a slight jolt in car sales.

“I think the numbers are up a little bit, but not where they once were,” Monogan said. “I haven’t seen the increase I wish I had.”

Monogan did not have Heritage’s sales figures readily available.

Sales tax revenues have been on the rise since February, when the city collected $418,097, up from $403,484 in February 2009.

Holloway said total sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2010, which began Oct. 1, is $4,658,688.

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