Sullivan sales taxes up 8.3 percent

J. H. Osborne • Jan 21, 2007 at 7:12 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - Sales tax revenues are up about 8.3 percent in Sullivan County, compared to the same point last year, according to information provided by the county's accounts and budgets office.

To date this fiscal year, nearly $23.14 million in sales tax revenue has been received by entities countywide. That's up about $1.77 million from this point last year.

"It looks extremely good," said Sullivan County Mayor Steve Godsey.

Sales tax revenues are generated when money is spent on goods and services at businesses throughout the county and its cities - and they are used by local governments, largely, to support school systems.

When a consumer pays sales tax locally, it is sent to the state, which redistributes it back to the county and its cities based on collection site.

Sales tax revenue is typically distributed back to localities two months after being collected.

Taxes collected during November, for example, come back to the localities in January.

The latest report covers sales tax revenues from August through January, and the good news is it shows six consecutive months of continuous growth, said Godsey.

Larry Bailey, the county's top finance officer, said last month that this year's growth trend was already the best in recent memory.

"I can't recall how long it's been since we've had this many months in a row of growth over the previous year," Bailey said. "That didn't happen at all last year."

Indeed, last year's sales tax revenues in Sullivan County were up and down like a yo-yo for most of fiscal year 2006, which ended June 30.

Fiscal year 2007 began July 1 and covers the county's finances - and that of other local governments - through June 30, 2007.

The highest month for collections is usually December, Bailey said.

Sales tax revenues received by local governments in Sullivan County in January totaled more than $4.28 million, according to information released by Godsey.

That's up about $185,000 compared to sales tax revenues in January 2006.

Also from the same information source:

•In January 2006, the state sent about $2.58 million total back for sales taxes collected within the city of Kingsport - with half, or nearly $1.29 million - going to the city of Kingsport's coffers and the other half being split among local school systems.

•For January 2007, the total was about $2.45 million, with half, or roughly $1.22 million going to city coffers, and the other half going to the school systems.

•Kingsport's year-to-date share, since fiscal year 2007 began on July 1, shows total growth of about 7.6 percent over last year at this point.

•The Sullivan County school system's year-to-date share is about $6.49 million, up nearly $459,000 compared to this point last year, an increase of about 7.6 percent.

•The Bristol City Schools system's year-to-date share is about $2.01 million, an increase of about $208,000 - or about 11.6 percent - compared to this point last year.

•The Kingsport City Schools system's year-to-date share is more than $3.06 million, up $219,000 - or about 7.7 percent - compared to this point last year.

•The city of Bristol's year-to-date share is $2.57 million, up about $218,000 compared to this point last year - a growth of about 9.25 percent.

•Bluff City's year-to-date share is about $187,200, down about $19,000 compared to this point last year.

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