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August sales tax numbers show slight improvement

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Like the national economy, sales tax revenues in Barry and Lawrence counties in August showed a degree of improvement. While many of the comparisons with last year continued to show revenue declines, the amount of the difference was less than in July. The assessment is particularly meaningful for Monett, which has seen sizable declines almost all year.

Monett's two sales taxes for its general fund brought in $110,284.35 in August. Compared to a year ago, the total was down by $3,257.90. Since receipts began a freefall decline in February, Monett's general fund sales tax income was down almost $22,000 on the average for six months.

The August numbers reflected the smallest decline in the last seven months. Compared to past years, this was still the second best August on record, 23 percent better than the 2007 total. The five-month fiscal year total is 14 percent behind last year and even with the 2006 pace.

The 2009 general fund total for Monett is now at $1,110,984.78, or 11 percent under the first eight months of 2008.

Monett's half-cent tax to pay for capital improvements brought in $55,121.09 in August, down $1,650.21 from a year ago. The quarter-cent tax paying for the Justice Center yielded $26,712.72 for the month, down $790.89 from last August.

Combining receipts from Monett's four sales taxes, the total received in 2009 is down from 2008 by $252,632.13.

Pierce City's seven-eighths of a cent sales tax for general expenses had its second best August on record. The tax brought in $5,178.65, which was $1,306.11 better than last August and $45 short of the 2006 record. In July, Pierce City's fiscal year total was $3,000 under last year's pace. The August payment cut that margin to less than $2,000. The 2009 total is still lagging behind 2008 by about $2,400.

The half-cent sales taxes Pierce City collects for streets and capital improvements each gained on last August's amounts by almost $750. Combined, Pierce City's three taxes gained $2,798.74 over what was received last August.

Purdy's two one-cent sales taxes for the general fund yielded $5,474.52. Each tax generated what Purdy's oldest tax brought in by itself in 2005. Combined, the two taxes were down $1,598.53 from last year's record. The 2009 total to date is running under 2008 by 15 percent.

Verona had its lowest August disbursement since 2002. Verona's one-cent sales tax for its general fund brought in $991.53, a drop of $1,086.57 from a year ago. Verona's five-month fiscal year total to date is 14 percent lower than last year's pace.

The half-cent tax Verona collects for police and fire service produced $457.02, down $582.14 from last August. In five of the last eight months, Verona's sales tax income has been down by at least $1,200, compared to the previous year. For all of 2009, Verona's two sales taxes combined have generated only $2,619 less than in the same period a year ago.

For the first time since January, total sales tax coming into the bi-county area, not counting money for Barry County's "911" system, showed a gain compared to last August. City and county governments received $1,072,092.07, a gain of more than $2,400 from a year ago.

The real difference was in Lawrence County, where the six cities collecting sales tax took in $227,748.23, or 6 percent more than last August.

The big difference was in Mt. Vernon, where the city's taxes showed a gain of $10,147.06 over a year ago.

Aurora's three sales taxes combined for a gain of $1,118.12 over last August, even though the one-cent general fund tax gained by less than $140.

Marionville's five sales taxes collectively showed a drop of $692.99 from last August.

The seven Barry County cities collecting sales tax received $341,777.94 in August, a drop of a little more than $1,200 or half a percent from a year ago. Seligman and Washburn were the only towns to best last August's numbers while the other towns stayed fairly close.

Seligman has had higher sales tax revenue in four of the last five months. Seligman's three sales taxes combined pulled in $5,848.27 more than a year ago. Washburn's three sales taxes yielded $1,024.26 more than last August.

Cassville held almost even with last August. Its three sales taxes received $121,115.89, or $47.37 less than a year ago. Receipts from Wheaton's one-cent sales tax were down $655.11 from a year ago. Exeter's one-cent sales tax brought in $84.12 less than last August.

Lawrence County's half-cent tax for general operations received $82,005.18 in August, a drop of $2,517.45 from a year ago. Combined with the half-cent taxes Lawrence County has for road and bridge maintenance and paying for the Judicial Center, Lawrence County's three sales taxes brought in $7,649.37 less than a year ago.

On the plus side, Lawrence County's use tax, offsetting out-of-county transactions that would have paid sales tax, generated $55,258.39 in August. Use tax receipts are up $57,018.70 for the year.

Barry County's half-cent tax for general expenses generated $128,308.02 in August, down $673.30 from a year ago. The county's tax for road maintenance had a similar loss, for a combined drop of $1,322.56 for the month. It was the ninth consecutive month that both Barry County taxes have recorded a decline in revenues.

The quarter-cent sales tax collected for Barry County's "911" system produced $64,120.53 in August. The total was down $370.88 from a year ago. The 2009 total is down $57,553.69 for the year, according to Harold Schelin, treasurer for the Barry County Emergency Services Board.

Dept. of Revenue withholds distribution of sales tax interest in August


The Missouri Department of Revenue pays interest to government entities with sales taxes on money earned monthly between distributions. Typically that money is distributed in February and August to the taxing entities. Local governments did not receive interest payments this month.

According to a statement posted by the Department of Revenue, interest income is off significantly. The amount of all the interest accumulated for more than 800 cities, counties and taxing districts this year has added up to around $54,000. Last year interest added up to $1.7 million.

Ted Farnen, director of communications for the Department of Revenue, said, "Many cities, counties and other taxing districts would be receiving such small payments ----in many cases less than $1----that it would be impractical to mail these payments to the districts at this time. So, the department has decided to wait to distribute the accumulated interest until February."

Farnen indicated the state cannot use the interest money for any other purpose and sees no advantage in hanging onto the funds other than not wasting effort for a small return.

"We have let the local entities know about this by distributing information via our website and through the Missouri Municipal League and the Missouri Association of Counties," Farnen added.

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