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Sullivan County sales tax revenues down $510,000

June 22nd, 2008 12:00 am by J. H. Osborne

Sullivan County sales tax revenues down $510,000



BLOUNTVILLE — Cumulatively, sales tax revenues in Sullivan County are running about $510,000 below last year at this point, according to a report prepared by Sullivan County’s budget office.


Hardest hit appears to be the Kingsport city area, where sales tax revenues are about $743,500 below last year at this point.


And that can affect budgets countywide, not just in the Model City.


According to Sullivan County’s current budget document, Kingsport businesses collected 63 percent of all sales taxes in the county in fiscal year 2007 — but the cash flow back to the city and the city’s school system accounted for only 45 percent of the money.


In contrast, 12 percent of all sales taxes collected in the county in fiscal year 2007 were collected at businesses located outside any of the cities — but cash flow back to the county and the county’s school system accounted for 34 percent of the money.


An 11-month spreadsheet by the budget office shows sales tax revenues from April this year, countywide, came in about $151,000 above April 2007.


That’s a 4.2 percent increase for the month of April.


It’s only the fourth time this fiscal year that monthly sales tax revenues came in more than the same month last fiscal year.


For the fiscal year as a whole, year-to-date sales tax revenues are running 1.2 percent below where they were a year ago.


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 April, for example, come back to the localities in June.


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 about 14.9 percent — about $382,000 — compared to this time last year, according to the report.


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.


From the report:


•Sales tax revenues received by local governments in Sullivan County from August through this month totaled nearly $42.07 million. That’s down from about $42.58 million for the same period last year.


•For the same period last year, the state sent more than $26.77 million total back for sales taxes collected within the city of Kingsport — with half, or about $13.39 million — 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 a little more than $26.03 million, with half — roughly $13.02 million — 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 $371,736 compared to last year at this point.


•The Sullivan County school system’s year-to-date share is about $11.63 million, down $275,486 compared to this point last year, a decrease of about 2.3 percent.


•The Bristol City Schools system’s year-to-date share is about $3.73 million, up about $12,700 compared to this point last year.


•The Kingsport City Schools system’s year-to-date share is about $5.68 million, up about $8,000 compared to this point last year.


•The city of Bristol’s year-to-date non-school share is about $4.72 million, down about $21,600 compared to this point last year.


•Bluff City’s year-to-date share is about $276,000, down about $61,500 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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