By PAUL SIMS
Starkville’s sales tax receipts – recorded in February – bounced back from a one-month slump in January and showed a gain over the same period last year.
The city took in $432,510.76, up nearly 2.91 percent – or $12,247.12 – over February 2010, when city officials received $420,263.64. This year’s figures for February are the best for the month dating back to 1989, the earliest year from which figures were available.
January’s receipts – totaling $393,970.11 – showed a dip of about 12.2 percent off of last year’s top figure for January of $448,787.31. To date last year, sales tax totaled $869,050.95. At this point this year, the receipts are at $826,480.87, off $42,570.08.
“It’s hard to pin down why that month was slower than what we’d become accustomed to seeing,” Mayor Parker Wiseman said of January. “One possible explanation is we had some snowfall in the month of January and that could have potentially slowed down local shopping. However, it appears to have been an isolated event because our February number is consistent with the recent growth trend we’ve observed.”
Local officials were upbeat about February’s figures.
“I’m pleased with the sales tax report from February. It is consistent with the general positive trend in sales tax revenue that we’ve been seeing for about the last year to 18 months now,” Wiseman said. “Of course that’s helpful from a city revenue perspective and it’s also a good sign for the performance of our local economy.”
Jon Maynard, president and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said: “February is historically a slow month for Starkville. The collections for this year are higher for February than they have ever been.”
The city’s 2 percent restaurant tax receipts are higher year-to-date so far this year over 2010, though February’s numbers dropped off slightly over the same month last year.
To date, in 2011, the 2 percent tax receipts total $241,879.50, up $11,845.47 for the year over 2010. However, in February 2010, the city took in $122,355.39. This year, the tax take in this category for February was $120,743.41, down $1,611.98.
“The 2 percent tax – on average – continues to perform quite well. You see some minor oscillations up and down from month to month, but again, the overall trend is very positive,” Wiseman said.
Maynard noted the “softer-than-normal” 2 percent collection in February, adding “we hope to see some improvement in the latter months of spring and summer.”