Sales tax collections rise in Natchez

Published 12:05 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

NATCHEZ — Sales tax collections for the City of Natchez have increased the past three fiscal years, and so far this year’s collections are poised to do the same.

Collections for October, November and December, the first three months of the fiscal year, combined were approximately $1.4 million, approximately $86,500 more than those months combined in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Sales tax collections are reported two months after the fact.

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Figures for December, which represent collections for October, jumped approximately $50,000 from approximately $443,000 in  2012 to $493,000 in 2013.

That is despite what balloon race organizers said was a less-than-stellar year for the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in October, one of Natchez’s biggest events of the year.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said the balloon race still drew a number of patrons, and he also credits local shopping by the cast and crew of “Get On Up” for increased sales tax collections in October.

Figures for November, which represent collections for September, increased approximately $54,100 from approximately $422,800 in 2012 to $476,900 in 2013.

Figures for October, which represent collections for August, decreased approximately $17,600 from approximately $444,400 in  2012 to approximately $426,800 in  2013.

Overall sales tax collections for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, were $5.4 million, a $200,000 jump over the $5.2 million collected in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Collections have been on the rise since dropping in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which Holloway credits to an economic downturn across the country.

Collections for the 2010-2011 fiscal year were $5.1 million.

Holloway said he believes the steady increase over the past few years is a credit to economic recovery, local tourism and conference and convention business.

“I think people are spending more than they used to,” he said. “Car sales have been up. We’ve had good tourism; I think that’s been a factor behind the increase.

“I hope to see it continue.”