Sales tax revenue in Columbus from May saw a gain of more than $91,000 over May 2013 thanks to out-of-town traffic generated by events held in the city, including the President’s Cup soccer tournament and Market Street Festival.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue paid the city of Columbus $825,680 this month from what its businesses collected in May. That’s the second-highest grossing month of the fiscal year that began last October and a $91,236 improvement over last July when it received $734,444.
Through 10 months, the city has received $7,334,736 and is poised to eclipse $8.8 million this fiscal year if it maintains its monthly average over the last two months. It would also be significantly higher than the $8.5 million the city budgeted.
Columbus Chief Financial Officer Milton Rawle said that’s good news for city coffers.
“I was kind of shocked, too, but the state deposited the money in the account, so I guess it is what it is,” Rawle said. “It’s a good thing, obviously.”
Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter said the 4,500-5,000 people who came to Columbus during the weekend of the state’s premier youth soccer tournament not only stayed in hotels but provided a boost to retail and restaurants. The CVB received $144,873 from the city’s restaurant tax, $9,257 more than July 2013. Hotel revenue, which funds maintenance of the Trotter Convention Center, totaled $24,579, a $1,516 increase over last July.
“It certainly was a wise investment for our board to make in bidding on the soccer tournament, and it was a wise decision on behalf of the (Lowndes County) Board of Supervisors and the mayor and (Columbus) City Council to work on building an attractive soccer complex that would draw rave reviews,” Carpenter said. “It’s just another example of the city, county and Visit Columbus as well as the fire and police departments and starting with (Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority) working together. When you’ve got over 98 percent occupancy in your hotel, you will have people not only spending money by staying in hotels but also by eating in restaurants and shopping.”
Starkville also saw an uptick in sales tax revenue from last July. It received a check for $495,835 this month, $26,626 more than the $469,209 of July 2013. From that time to this month, it collected a total of $5,911,473.37, a $219,089.74 increase over the July 2012-13 timespan.
All numbers reflect taxes that were paid to the city by MDR this month. The taxes were collected by city retailers in May. Retailers reported and paid the taxes to MDR in June. Of what is collected, 18.5 percent was what the city governments received this month.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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