Sullivan County’s monthly sales tax collections down

J. H. Osborne • May 5, 2013 at 1:59 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Monthly sales tax collections across Sullivan County, and the subsequent revenue to local school systems and governments, remain down for the fiscal year to date, according to a report prepared by the county’s budget office.

Revenue figures are in for nine months of the current budget year. Monthly sales tax revenues have shown an increase in five of those nine months, but not enough to offset the decreases in the other four, including the most recent month’s revenue, which posted a more than 6 percent drop from the same month a year before.

The nine-month total is not as bad, showing a less than 1 percent cumulative drop compared to the same period a year before.

The countywide total of about $35.32 million since the fiscal year began July 1 represents a $172,552 drop compared to the same nine-month period last year.

Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants. February sales tax collections, for example, came back as revenue to Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol, Bluff City and Johnson City — as well as to the three school systems in the county — in April.

Sales tax revenues are generated when money is spent on goods and services at businesses throughout the county and its cities. 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.

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.

From the budget office’s report:

• The city of Kingsport’s non-school share of taxes for the nine-month period totals nearly $11.4 million — up about $81,000 from same time last year.

• The Kingsport City Schools system’s share is at about $5.3 million, up about $162,000 compared to last year.

• The city of Bristol’s non-school share so far totals nearly $3.9 million, up about $282,000 compared to last year.

• The Bristol City Schools system’s share totals about $3.28 million, up $12,000 compared to last year.

• Sullivan County’s portion for sales taxes generated outside the cities totals $2.19 million, down $441,0000 compared to a year ago. That’s a nearly 17 percent drop in sales tax revenue for the county budget.

• The Sullivan County Schools system’s share totals $9.07 million, down $260,000 compared to last year.

• Bluff City’s share totals about $111,000, down about $7,000 compared to last year.

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