Sullivan County courthouse

BLOUNTVILLE — County- wide, sales tax revenues for September were up 15.35% compared to September 2020, according to a report from the Sullivan County Finance Department.

That’s nearly $790,000 in growth, year over year, and is nearly triple the 5.41% growth recorded for September 2020. That growth includes revenue to the county’s cities, all of which saw increases, except for Johnson City.

The countywide total for September was more than $5.93 million, compared to nearly $5.14 million in September 2020.

Where did revenue come from?

Kingsport continues to produce the largest chunk of sales taxes generated within the county.

The $5.93 million, by collection point: Kingsport, $3.44 million; Bristol, $1.38 million; non-city portions of the county, $982,100; Johnson City, $75,200; and Bluff City, nearly $59,200.

September growth by location, year over year: Kingsport, $473,086; Bristol, $161,970; non-city portions of the county, $155,300; Bluff City, $4,824; and Johnson City, -$5,470.

September is the second month of sales tax revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 for the county and cities.

August sales tax revenue was up countywide by 8.9%, leaving a two-month year-to-date average growth of 12.05%.

The two-month countywide total is $11.8 million.

Where does revenue go?

Half of the money goes to local school systems.

Sullivan County Schools’ share is $2.63 million, up $255,000 compared to the same period a year ago.

Kingsport City Schools’ share is $2.09 million, up $270,000 compared to last year.

The Bristol, Tennessee, City Schools’ share is nearly $1.16 million, up $112,000 compared to last year.

Johnson City Schools’ share is $22,000, down $2,200 compared to last year.

The non-school share for each locality for the two-month period: Sullivan County, $975,000, up $168,000; Kingsport, $3.36 million, up $339,000; Bristol, $1.42 million, up $146,000; Bluff City, $60,000, up $5,300; Johnson City, $78,000, down $24,000.

Sales taxes 101

Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants.

July sales tax collections, for example, return as revenue to Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol, Bluff City and Johnson City — as well as to the three school systems in the county — in September.

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

Locally, cities and counties fund most of their services through a combination of property and sales taxes.

When a consumer pays sales tax locally, that money is sent to the state, which takes a small cut and redistributes it to the county and its cities based on the 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.

Every dollar 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.

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