Spending on the rise in Pike County

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2014

People are spending more on Pike County’s groceries and household goods than they have in the last three years.

The findings are based on sales taxes collected by the county. Its fiscal year came to an end in June.

“The positive part is hopefully, retail stores are doing better,” said County Administrator Harry Sanders.

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The county monitors retail spending every month and charts its changes.

Every dollar spent in Pike County stores is subject to a sales tax of six cents. Brundidge adds an additional two cents, Troy an additional three.

Four cents of retail taxes are earmarked for the state.

Two cents are collected by Pike County. One of the cents is divided amongst all schools in the county. The other cent is split in several ways.

The County takes $150,000 off the top of its revenue. Those funds are divided amongst nonprofits like the Chamber of Commerce and the Goshen Nutrition Center.

The Pike County Board of Education receives 75 percent of what is left of that penny. The rest goes to the county’s general funds.

“All expenses can be paid out of the general fund,” said Sanders. “It’s not a restricted fund like gas and some of the other funds.”

General funds keep the county running. They cover general operations like the sheriff’s office, the probate office and a portion of the revenue commissioner’s office.

According to Chief Financial Officer Debra Gibson, the general fund has collected $704,412.97 since October, a $20,000 increase over the same period last year.

“Basically, the economy has been better,” said Chief Financial Officer Debra Gibson.

Monthly spending trends have shown very little fluctuation in the last three years. Since 2011, people spend more in October than any other month of the year. Last October reached a new high. Tax revenue increased from $83,261 in 2011 to $91,127 last year. Gibson did not venture a guess why. “I went back and looked at it three times,” she said.

“May has always been a good month and January is always the lowest month,” said Gibson.

This year, Pike County collected $79,500 for May sales. The month’s sales have steadily fallen the last three years. In 2012, taxes were at $84,500 and in 2013, $81,300.

The holidays were good for Pike County. November sales showed the greatest improvement. In 2012, the county collected $72,700. Last year’s sales taxes were up nearly $10,000 to $82,500.

Overall, Gibson said the spending climate was in good shape and showing marginal improvement.

“It’s not any huge difference,” she said. “But there has been improvement.”