By STEVEN NALLEY
August 2011 revenue from Starkville’s 2-percent restaurant taxes set an all-time record, exceeding revenue from the tax for any given month on record, according to the city of Starkville’s sales tax report.
The total for the month was $144,208.08, breaking the record of $143,510.53 set in March 2008. Starkville’s sales taxes for August 2011 also saw significant gains, bringing in $490,740.10, the highest intake of the year.
The record restaurant tax revenue also marked a significant gain of 22.19 percent versus August 2010. This gain marks the largest percentage of increase for any month in 2011, and it reversed a loss of 13.73 percent between August 2009 and 2010.
The sales tax revenue for August 2011 was 7.15 percent higher than in August 2011. Total sales tax revenues for 2011 through July add up to $3,541,990.98, ahead of January-August 2010’s total of $3,494,443.28. This keeps 2011 on pace to beat the annual Starkville sales tax revenue record of $5,317,568.11 set in 2010.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the August gains on both the sales tax and restaurant tax fronts were tremendous.
“Certainly, a factor you would hope is driving the high sales tax figures we saw in August is record enrollment growth at Mississippi State University,” Wiseman said. “Month to month, you don’t necessarily get an idea of a trend that’s driving those numbers. However, looking at a quarter, looking at a half-year, certainly a year, it’s much easier to gauge.”
Wiseman said trends become more apparent over the course of a year, half a year or even a quarter of a year. One trend he said he hopes to see is more high numbers during the school year, because that would indicate growing numbers of students are continuing to drive sales.
“We have more students living in our community and participating in the local economy than ever before,” Wiseman said. “The reason you hope that record enrollment is an event that drove the very positive numbers we saw in August is, of course, because the student body at Mississippi State will be here throughout the year. If ... it’s driving higher sales tax numbers, then that would be a trend we would hope would hold up throughout the academic year.”