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Sales taxes show growth

Sales tax collections show Covington County residents kept the retail trend alive in the first two months of 2009, especially in Andalusia where in January a 16 percent increase over last year’s figures was reported.

It’s a figure that city officials say prove residents took the “shop at home” advice to heart.

“I think these figures show businesses are doing a great job of supplying for the needs and desires of our city,” Andalusia city clerk John Thompson said. “We have people who are shopping in Andalusia and people from outlying areas who come here to do our shopping, and that’s wonderful.”

Andalusia collected $381,736 in Jan. 2009 and $329,300 in 2008. In February, collections dropped 1.5 percent over last year with $351,886 in sales tax collected in the city; however, Thompson said while there was a slight decrease in collections in February, the year-to-date collections for 2009 are up 1.25 percent for this fiscal year.

“While there was a decrease in February, we need to remember what the national economy was like,” he said. “The news was filled with all sorts of things on how bad our economy was. For our numbers to come in like they did, it’s phenomenal.”

This spring, Andalusia has seen the opening of at least two new retail businesses, The Shoe Department and Tractor Supply. The trend is expected to continue with the soon-to-be announced opening of Marvin’s Building Materials and Home Center.

“I feel like our increase can be attributed also to these new businesses that opened,” Thompson said.

The county reported at 1.9 percent increase in sales tax collections from January 2008 after $570,651 was remitted for January 2009.

“The county sure can use that money,” Chairman Lynn Sasser said. “Those figures are good for the county, especially in this financial crunch. We’re extremely thankful people have committed to shopping at home. Extremely thankful.”

February’s collections were also up, according to reports, which had the county collecting $583,323 – a $6,526 increase over last year.