For the first time in 11 months, sales tax revenues in the bi-county area took a double digit drop in February. Part of the impact came from the major adjustment due to an overpayment of tax by Monett, but the drop was more pervasive, impacting eight of the 11 local cities receiving sales tax income.
Most of the sales tax overpaid to the City of Monett for failing to exempt the sale of electricity used in manufacturing for two and a half years came out of the money disbursed in February.
City Administrator Dennis Pyle said all the refunds should have been made, returning disbursements to normal levels in March. With less tax paid in, the city may receive less back compared to previous years in future months.
The two sales taxes collected by Monett for general expenses generated $71,164.74 in February, down $56,056.21 from a year ago. Monett received $98,075.59 less from its four sales taxes in February alone. After two months, the 2012 general fund income is down by 20 percent, compared to the start of 2011. Monett's 11-month fiscal year tally is still nearly 6 percent above the previous year.
Monett's sales tax overpayment had a direct effect on Barry County's two half-cent taxes. Barry County's taxes each produced more than $91,300 in February. A year ago, the two taxes generated $67,678.51 more than had been paid a year ago. Receipts for Barry County's general fund tax are down 9 percent from the first two months of 2011.
The quarter-cent sales tax collected to run Barry County's 911 system yielded $45,680.72, down over 25 percent from a year ago. Revenues are down 11 percent for the first two months of 2012 from a year ago.
The February drop in sales tax was widely seen among the bi-county cities.
Pierce City's seven-eighths of a cent tax for general expenses brought in $2,250.48 in February, the lowest amount produced by the tax since 2004. Income from the six sales taxes collected by Pierce City dropped $2,558.75 from last February.
The three sales taxes collected in Purdy generated $2,885.76 less than last February, a third less than a year ago. The month's payment was the smallest since 2007.
Verona's three sales taxes received $913.77 less in February than a year ago, a 26 percent cut from each of the taxes.
All the bi-county cities and counties, not counting the 911 tax, received $914,055.94, the smallest February total since 2005. The total was 13 percent less than a year ago.
Among the 11 Barry County cities collecting sales tax, only Washburn and Wheaton topped last February. The combined sales tax total dropped 30 percent from a year ago. Seligman's receipts were down by 70 percent, the worst showing for any bi-county town.
Lawrence County proved slightly better, though only Mt. Vernon surpassed last February's total. The sales tax total was down by 8 percent. In Miller, receipts were down by 57 percent.
Lawrence County's three half-cent sales taxes were each down by more than $10,400 from a year ago. Receipts for each tax were down by 22 percent. For the first two months of 2012, sales tax income to the county is down by 9 percent compared to the start of 2011.