Sulphur Springs on track to set new sales tax record
Como sees big jump in collections this month
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Nov. 11, 2005 - Como has replaced Cumby as the local leader in increases in sales tax rebates, at least for this month, according to the State Comptroller’s office.

In the most recent report, Como saw an increase of 177 percent over November of 2004, while Cumby posted a 90 percent gain.

The city of Sulphur Springs is on pace to post its largest single-year sales tax collections on record. This month’s check to Sulphur Springs, reflecting retail sales in September and reported in October, amounted to $368,313. The total revenue to the city from sales tax collected by the state for the first nine months of retail sales this year totaled $3,473, 516.

For the 11 months of the year, retail sales in the city are up 2.66 percent from the $3,383,265 collected through November in 2004.

2004 was also a record-setting year for sales tax rebates in the city, when rebates hit $3.658 million. The rebate for next month need only reach $185,020 to break that record, and the city hasn’t seen a December check that low since 1994. Over the last five years, the average for the month was more than $253,500.

And while a record-setting year isn’t out of the ordinary — inflation and population growth usually raise sales tax collections year-to-year — it is a sign that the economy is seeing overall growth.

In Como, meanwhile, city officials were scratching their heads trying to identify the reason for the dramatic increase in sales tax dollars coming back into that community. With very few retail outlets, city staff said the only significant change involved a new owner and new name for the town’s only convenience store.

Retail sales resulted in a $5,778 check for Como, up more than 177 percent in 2004, when the amount received by the city totaled $2,084. So far this year, Como has received $27,233 in sales tax payments.

The overall year to date comparison of 2004 and 2005 shows Como’s retail growth at just over 60 percent.

Cumby dropped below a 100 percent increase for the first time in the almost two years since the town approved the sale of alcoholic beverage.

The check for Cumby totaled $11,355 this month, up 90 percent from the same time last year when the check was for less than $10,000.

For the year, Cumby has collected $79,684 in sales taxes. With one month left in the year, that figure is up more than 49.7 percent from the $53,231 received in all of 2004. This year’s numbers, however, don’t reflect an overall increase in sales — Cumby’s sales tax rate rose from 1 percent to 1.5 percent in January, automatically boosting the totals.

Nevertheless, Cumby is obviously reaping great rewards in the sales tax area. In 2003, the last year before alcohol sales in Cumby, the 12-month total was only $23,989.88.

While Sulphur Springs and its neighbors in Hopkins County saw improvements in retail activity during the period, the results were a mixed bag at other nearby municipalities.

Greenville, with a 3.85 percent increase, just barely out-paced Sulphur Springs. Greenville’s sales tax check amounted to $447,528. Commerce saw an increase of just over half of one percent.

In Lamar County, Paris realized an increase of only 1.07 percent in September retail sales.

Mount Vernon’s $48,491.75 check was a 15.05 percent jump from one year ago.

Emory also had a healthy report for the month, with a $71,416  check reflecting a 37.32 improvement.

In Mount Pleasant, sales tax rebates this month were way down. The city’s $291,683 rebate was a 16 percent drop from one year ago.

Winnsboro and Quitman also reported drops in retail activity. Winnsboro’s $55,152 rebate reflected a 9.53 percent decline from a year ago, and Quitman’s $38,088 was off 20.92 from November of 2004.

Cooper’s $11,857 rebate, however, reflected a downturn of 4.74 percent.

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The sales tax figures, as provided by the state comptroller’s office reflected the sales tax collected on retail sales during the month of September and reported to the state in October.

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