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Officials: Tourism boosts sales tax revenues for April

June 19, 2012

Revenue from Starkville’s sales tax and 2 percent restaurant tax was strong in April 2012, showing increases over April 2011 and ranking high among all-time monthly revenues, according to the city of Starkville’s sales tax report.

Sales tax revenue for April 2012 reached $486,239.50, a 6.22 percent increase versus April 2011’s $457,758.78. April marked the 10th consecutive month of revenue increases versus the same months of the previous year. The revenue was also the fourth highest for any month on record dating back to 2000.
The total sales tax revenue for 2012 so far stands at $1,862,144.28. By the same point in 2011, total revenue for the year was at $1,733,319.59, putting 2012 ahead of 2011 by $128,824.69.

Restaurant tax revenue for April 2012 reached $142,818.51, a 3.15 percent increase versus April 2011’s $138,461.25. The revenue was also the third highest for any month on record dating back to 2000. The total restaurant tax revenue for 2012 so far stands at $511,182.83. By the same point in 2011, total revenue for the year was at $501,864.12, putting 2012 ahead of 2011 by $9,318.71.

Finally, in both sales tax revenue and restaurant tax revenue, April 2012 also generated the highest revenue of any April on record dating back to 2000.

Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said spring events and the tourists they attract contributed to these revenue figures.

“I think there’s a couple of months in the spring where, depending on where Super Bulldog Weekend falls and where the Cotton District Arts Festival (falls), you can definitely see a connection with sales tax (revenues),” Dumas said. “Those definitely generated a good bit of revenue for the city.”

Jennifer Gregory, GSDP vice president for tourism and chief operating officer, said she, too, attributed April’s success to CDAF and SBW. Both had very high attendance numbers, she said, and CDAF in particular saw close to a 20 percent increase in sales compared with 2011.

“So while the attendance wasn’t at an all-time high, people were spending money, and it appears that was an across-the-board trend,” Gregory said. “The CVB continues to practice our strategic plan of marketing and promoting these events in addition to the promotion that the event’s managers do, such as social media, print advertisement and a variety of others.”

Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill said she agrees the strong April figures indicate tourism’s impact during the month. She also said the 10 consecutive months of sales tax revenue growth were wonderful news for Starkville.

“The economy must be turning around for us,” Spruill said. “Hopefully, that’s an indicator of a nationwide state of affairs, but our sales tax has always been very strong. There is nothing that indicates it’s going to slow down or cease to be of use to us. We’re very fortunate.”

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