Sullivan County sales tax revenues still down for year

J. H. Osborne • Jul 7, 2013 at 12:12 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 that ended June 30, according to a report prepared by the county’s budget office.

Revenue figures are in for 11 months of that budget cycle. Monthly sales tax revenues, overall countywide, have shown an increase in six of those 11 months, but not enough to offset the decreases in the other five.

Despite a 3.9 percent increase in the most recent month — compared to the same month a year prior — the 11-month total shows a cumulative drop compared to the same 11-month span a year before, albeit a drop of less than 1 percent.

The countywide total of about $43.15 million since the fiscal year began July 1, 2012, represents a $160,000 drop compared to the same 11-month period last year.

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

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 11-month period totals over $13.95 million — up about $144,400 from same time last year.

• The Kingsport City Schools’ share is at about $6.49 million, up about $180,000 compared to last year.

• The city of Bristol’s non-school share so far totals nearly $4.7 million, up about $218,000 compared to last year.

• The Bristol City Schools’ share totals $4.02 million, up $24,000 compared to last year.

• Sullivan County’s portion for sales taxes generated outside the cities totals almost $2.7 million, down $437,0000 compared to a year ago. That’s a nearly 14 percent drop in sales tax revenue for the county budget.

• The Sullivan County Schools’ share totals about $11.07 million, down $284,000 — or about 2.5 percent — compared to last year.

•Bluff City’s share totals about $134,000, down about $8,300 compared to last year.

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