Pike County sales tax revenues increase

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 21, 2017

With only three months left in the fiscal year, sales tax revenues throughout Pike County have increased over the prior year.

The City of Troy, the largest municipality in the county, collected $4.209 million in sales tax between Oct. 1, 2016, and May 31,2017. That is $59,000 more than the same period the prior year.

Even with the growth, Troy’s revenue is about 2 percent behind budget projections, said Alton Starling, city clerk. October and November revenues were more than $70,000 over the prior year, but December and January were $107,000 behind the prior year.

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“I don’t know why that happened,” Starling said. “I can’t tell what would have caused that.”

Sales tax revenues increased again in February, growing $43,000 over the prior year. March saw a $13,000 drop but April saw a $60,000 increase and May, a $10,000 increase.

Starling said there are a variety of factors that can influence the amount of sales tax revenue in a given time, but it’s hard to track which ones played into high and low months.

“When you have a big draw, a lot of people come into Troy,” Starling said. “I’ve noticed a lot more traffic going to the beach and they stop at those stores; that could cause it. Christmas this year was down or basically level, so you don’t know whether they’re shopping in Troy or not. Car sales are up; there are numerous things that can happen.”

The city still has four months left to make up the 2 percent deficit in the budget, and Starling said reports of record enrollment at Troy University could bring extra income this fall to help boost revenues. “(College students) have more disposable income than people realize,” Starling said.

With enrollment numbers around 7,000 to 8,000 students, students make up a major portion of Troy’s population of 20,000.

Brundidge is on pace to meet or exceed its projected revenue of $525,000. The city has collected $363,500 so far this year, 10 percent ahead of last year’s numbers, said Linda Faust, city clerk. Last year, the city had collected $327,700 through the same period.

Most months have been a few thousand dollars ahead or behind last year’s numbers with the most notable exception being the month of December, which nearly doubled from $40,000 in 2015 to $78,000 in 2016.

“Any time there’s an increase that means growth, so we’re fortunate,” Faust said.

February saw the city’s biggest drop in revenue, with totals at $35,000 this year compared to $52,000 last year.

Pike County has collected $6.443 million so far this fiscal year, an increase of 4 percent over the prior year’s $5.916 million.

The county only had one month that saw a drop in revenue from the previous year, collecting $43,000 less this March than in 2016.

The rest of the calendar has been good to the county, which experienced upticks of more than $30,000 in most other months. Most notably, January revenue jumped up $63,000.

Most recently, April and May had modest increases of $5,000 and $18,000 respectively.

The numbers put the county well on its way to exceeding its projected revenue, as the county only estimated to bring in a total of $5,000 more than it received last year.

“Based on our performance so far, I think we should be fine,” said Harry Sanders, county administrator.

The county commission’s portion of the sales revenue so far is $682,000. The majority of the revenue goes to the Pike County and Troy City school systems.