Sales tax trend continues climb

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 16, 2012

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez could be looking at an overall better year for sales tax collections if the upward trend in collections continues for the next three months.

Overall sales tax collections for April were approximately $455,300, up 3.5 percent over April 2011 collections of approximately $439,800.

April’s collections were the highest the city has collected in that month since the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

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Sales tax numbers for June reflect collections in April. Collections are reported two months after the fact.

Food and lodging tax collections for April were up 17.3 percent over last fiscal year, with approximately $34,000, the highest April collections recorded on a chart dating back to the 1997-1998 fiscal year.

Numbers show that the $2 hotel and bed-and-breakfast occupancy tax collections were down slightly for the second month in a row. Collections were approximately $30,000, down 2.9 percent from the $30,900 collected in April 2011.

Natchez City Clerk Donnie Holloway said he believes the $2 tax collections do not match the other collections, because some bed-and-breakfast owners pay their sales tax on a quarterly basis. He also said some business owners’ sales tax forms may have not made it by the deadline.

Holloway said the city is in the homestretch of the fiscal year, and he said he thinks the city is still on track for higher overall sales tax collections this fiscal year.

The total collections for the 2010-2011 fiscal year were approximately $5.1 million, and collections for this fiscal year so far are approximately $3.9 million. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Mayor Jake Middleton, who is in the last month of his term, said he was very pleased that sales tax numbers were up and believes collections will continue to rise.

“Things may drop off a little, you never know, but I think at the end of the year you will see an overall increase,” he said.

Middleton said with the new casino opening in December and a recreation complex on the horizon, he believes increased sales tax collections could be something Natchezians could get used to seeing every year.

“Maybe next (fiscal) year will be better than this fiscal year, and it will continue to rise,” Middleton said. “I think things will continue in an upward, positive direction from here on out.”