Sullivan County sales tax revenues continue fiscal year slump

J. H. Osborne • Apr 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sales tax revenues, countywide, rebounded a little more this month, according to a report released Thursday by Sullivan County’s budget office.

But the $190,000 gain over the same month last year wasn’t enough to pull local sales tax revenues out of an overall fiscal year slump.

Cumulatively, sales tax revenues in Sullivan County are running about $267,000 below last year at this point, according to that report.

Hardest hit appears to be the Kingsport city area, where sales tax revenues are about $666,000 below last year at this point, according to the report.

A nine-month spreadsheet by the budget office shows sales tax revenues from February came in $190,116 ahead of February 2007.

It’s only the third monthly gain in nine months.

Sales tax revenues are generated when money is spent on goods and services at businesses throughout the county and its cities. The money is 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 February, for example, come back to the localities in April.

Local-option sales tax revenues are split 50/50 — with half going to school systems in the county, and the other half going to the local government where the collecting business is located.

Each $1 of local-option sales taxes collected in Kingsport, for example, generates 50 cents for the county’s three school systems (the money is split based on average daily attendance) and 50 cents for city coffers.

Since August, sales tax revenues from non-city portions of the county are up nearly 15.4 percent — about $323,000 — compared to this time last year, according to the report released Thursday.

Some of that increase, however, includes adjustments in the county’s favor for past months’ collections. Those adjustments were the result of findings from an audit performed by an outside firm at the county’s request, Bailey said.

From the report:

•Sales tax revenues received by local governments in Sullivan County from August through this month totaled nearly $34.4 million. That’s down from $34.66 million for the same period last year.

•For the same period last year, the state sent about $21.83 million total back for sales taxes collected within the city of Kingsport — with half, or about $10,915,000 — going to the city of Kingsport’s coffers and the other half being split among local school systems.

•This year the Kingsport total for the period was about $21.16 million, with half — roughly $10.58 — going to city coffers, and the other half going to the school systems.

•Kingsport’s non-school share, since fiscal year 2008 began on July 1, shows a decrease of $333,000 compared to last year at this point.

•The Sullivan County school system’s year-to-date share is about $9.52 million, down $191,000 compared to this point last year, a decrease of about 2 percent.

•The Bristol City Schools system’s year-to-date share is about $3.04 million, an increase of $21,000 compared to this point last year.

•The Kingsport City Schools system’s year-to-date share is $4.64 million, up about $36,000 compared to this point last year.

•The city of Bristol’s year-to-date non-school share is about $3.9 million, up $92,000 compared to this point last year — a growth of 2.42 percent.

•Bluff City’s year-to-date share is about $238,000, down $38,000 compared to this point last year.

Fiscal year 2008 began July 1 and covers the county’s finances — and that of other local governments — through June 30, 2008.

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