Sales tax collections in Columbus and Starkville saw a more than 10-percent jump in March compared to a year ago, while West Point showed a marginal improvement from last year.
Columbus received $865,109 from the Mississippi Department of Revenue in March, up $95,087 from March 2022.
The city has collected $5,713,756 so far this fiscal year, compared to $5,249,808 by this time last year, marking an 8.5-percent increase.
Sales tax diversions run on a three-month window, in which they are collected by retailers one month, sent to MDOR the next and then dispersed to cities and counties the third. Therefore, March diversions generally reflect sales from January.
Mayor Keith Gaskin told The Dispatch he is pleased to see the city’s sales tax numbers continue to grow both year over year as compared to the previous fiscal year. He credits that success to more people coming into the city to shop from other surrounding towns.
“Fiscally, we are in a much better position than we were this time last year,” Gaskin said. “I attribute that to new businesses, retail and restaurants that have opened in the area. I think a lot of people who drive in from around the Golden Triangle and outside enjoy what we have here in Columbus. I think we’re on the right path and will continue to see these numbers increase as we work very hard to bring more business and retail into the area.”
The city’s 2-percent restaurant special tax, which helps to fund the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau, recreation for the county and city and economic development purposes for the Golden Triangle Development LINK also showed growth this month, bringing in $197,804, compared to $166,719 in March 2022. The city has received $1,142,662 so far this fiscal year, compared to $1,037,332 last year.
The 2-percent hotel/motel tax, which funds the James M. Trotter Convention Center, brought in $27,079, compared to $19,416 in March 2022. Year to date, the city has collected $181,618, compared to $171,197 this time last year.
Starkville received $671,259 in March, compared to $606,633 in March 2022.
The city’s fiscal YTD collections sit at $4,424,729, a 9.6-percent improvement over last year.
The city is right at the halfway point in its fiscal year and has made almost half of the $9.3 million budgeted for the current fiscal year.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said the city’s success year over year can be attributed to a continuation of more people coming to eat and shop in town.
“I think part of it is that people are still coming into town for our new shopping area that opened near the end of last year (Triangle Crossing),” Spruill said. “So I think that as well as the fact that we are just, we’re growing in popularity as a place to do business and to come in and eat and enjoy the different fare that we have.”
Triangle Crossing Shopping Center opened at 601 Hwy 12 W. in November, and is home to several popular retail brands such as Rack Room Shoes, Ulta Beauty, Marshalls and Aldi, among others.
According to figures released with its sales tax numbers, the city has continued to see growth in its 3-percent restaurant sales tax diversions and in its 1-percent hotel tax as compared to last year.
The city received $353,707 in restaurant sales tax collections, which assist in funding for economic development and tourism as well as sports facilities, a 15.4-percent increase from March 2022 (303,081). The city received $2,200,658 this fiscal year, compared to $1,998,404 this time last year.
The city’s 1-percent hotel tax, which helps fund sports facilities, brought in $15,572 this month, compared to $10,918 in March 2022.
The hotel tax has garnered $116,041 this fiscal year, compared to $100,612 by this time last year.
The city of West Point received $202,276 in sales tax diversions from MDR this month, compared to $190,514 in March 2022.
The city has collected $2,115,026 so far this fiscal year, marking a 6.8-percent improvement from this time last year ($1,975,283).
It also marks the fifth straight month the city has exceeded its 2021-2022 fiscal year collections, following a slow start to the fiscal year.
Mayor Rod Bobo did not respond to calls and messages made by The Dispatch by press time.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.