Cities, county see slight sales tax drops

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, April 29, 2010

City of Troy sales tax collections so far this fiscal year, are comparable with last years’ according to data provided by city clerk Alton Starling.

With about $3.22 million collected to date since October, the city is just over 2 percent shy of the approximately $3.29 million it reported receiving this time last year.

This is not including revenues from the recently approved one-cent sales tax used to fund the operation of Troy Regional Medical Center

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Starling said the decrease is not a big issue.

“Compared to our budget, we’re only down one percent,” Starling said, explaining the city had adjusted this years’ financial plan in expectation of lower sales tax revenues.

“We did a fairly decent forecast in our budget,” he said.

This has allowed the city to remain in a manageable position to keep from cutting back proposed programs or operating at a deficit.

“There’s a lot of flexibility within our budget,” Starling said.

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said the totals reflected some financial stabilization.

“It’s good that we are seeing some positive economic news,” he said.

But the mayor said more is always better.

“We want to see retail sales and business and restaurant sales pick up,” he said.

While more March sales tax revenues will likely be paid to the city, Starling said that the amounts deposited late in the month are generally minimal.

In addition to regular sales tax revenues, March was the first month the city began collecting an additional one percent sales tax levied on most purchases, to assist the city in running TRMC.

The deposits from those tolls have been making their way to the treasurer, and through April 21, more than $215,000 has been collected.

“We would anticipate to help them (TRMC) at least break even for this year,” Lunsford said.

The mayor said ultimately the goal would be to get TRMC to the point where it would be self-sustaining and the one-cent sales tax would no longer be needed.

Pike County sales tax collection figures have been similar to the city of Troy’s with an almost 2.5 percent decrease in fiscal year-to-date tax collections this year, dropping the total to about $3.16 million.

Pike County Commission Administrator Harry Sanders said the figures are not too discouraging.

“It doesn’t look like it’s getting any worse,” he said. “If we can keep this trend we think we can work our way with this revenue.”

The city of Brundidge has seen the sharpest drop with an approximate seven percent decrease in fiscal year-to-date sales tax revenues.

City Manager Britt Thomas said the city has been limiting expenditures in anticipation however.

“You hate to say you can live without it, but it is something you live with,” Thomas said.

“It’s five months out of 12 and hopefully we’ll be able to make up some of that seven percent in the remaining seven months.”