By STEVEN NALLEY
Starkville sales tax revenues for May 2011 saw a 10.56 percent increase over revenues for the same month in 2011, erasing the effects of a revenue slump in January 2011.
The city of Starkvilleâ€™s report on sales taxes showed January 2011 revenues to be at $393,970.11, where May 2011 revenues were at $468,471.49. That put January 2011 revenues 12.21 percent lower than in January 2010, a decrease of $54,817.12. The large increase for May 2011, combined with smaller increases for February, March, and April, added up to a gain of $65,037.12 in revenue versus the same four-month period last year.
As a result, revenues for January-May 2011 came out $10,219, or 0.47 percent, ahead of revenues for January-May 2010, growing from $2,191,571.16 to $2,201,791.08.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said it would be impractical to seek an explanation for either January or Mayâ€™s figures by themselves.
â€śItâ€™s very difficult if not impossible to hypothesize why there may be an increase one month or decrease next month,â€ť Wiseman said. â€śWhat is much more realistic, in my view, is to look over a year or, certainly, a quarter to see what the overall trend in sales taxes is.â€ť
From that perspective, Wiseman said, the past 18 months have shown a positive trend.
â€śThere was one month that was low, and thatâ€™s one of those months itâ€™s hard to explain why we might have been off base that month. I think what you take from that is that coming out of the national recession, our local economy has picked up considerably, and thatâ€™s a good sign for our city. Weâ€™re very pleased.â€ť
January 2011 was the first month since May 2009 with sales tax revenues below $400,000. The final total for sales tax revenues in 2010 was $5,317,568.11, the highest annual revenue dating back to 1999, the earliest year with figures available in this monthâ€™s report.
When revenues for February-May 2011 are compared with each other instead of with past years, they show a steady pattern of consecutive increases averaging $11,986.91. Finally, May 2011 revenues were the highest the month has seen dating back to 1999.
The cityâ€™s 2 percent restaurant tax results are opposite those of the overall sales taxes, showing a revenue increase in January and a decrease in May. The city collected $108,521.81 in May 2011, down 3.88 percent from May 2010. In January 2011, the city collected $121,136.09 in restaurant taxes, up 12.5 percent.
Lynn Spruill, chief administrative officer for the city of Starkville, said the total revenue for January-May 2011 from restaurant taxes still exceed those of January-May 2010. The report shows a 2011 total of $610,385.93, up 3.26 percent from last yearâ€™s $590,859.34.
â€śWeâ€™ve been very fortunate,â€ť Spruill said. â€śOur sales tax and food and beverage tax revenues have been steady or growing incrementally over the years. It reflects the growth of Starkville.â€ť