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Sales tax returns ahead of ‘08 pace

For the third month in a row, year-to-date sales tax collections were positive for both Andalusia and Covington County.

County businesses remitted $717,060 in June for merchandise sold in May — a nearly $57,000 increase over the same period in 2008. That figure brings year-to-date collections for this fiscal year up 2.64 percent from 2008, said Pam Steele of the Covington County Commission.

In Andalusia, June collections were down slightly — $12,433 — from this time last year, said city clerk John Thompson. However, the city’s collections for the entire fiscal year is still ahead of last year’s pace.

“For 2009, collections came in at $386,793 for June,” Thompson said. “Which is down a little more than 3 percent over last year’s figure; however, our year-to-date collections are showing a 1.34 percent increase over last year’s — which is wonderful news.”

Thompson said he recently attended a revenue officer’s conference in Mobile where he was told others were not in the same situation as Covington County.

“It’s very gratifying to see these numbers holding at current levels when I hear from people in similar situations across state,” he said. “(At the meeting) earlier this month, I think I was the only person there could say my city was in positive shape. With that said, I can say the city continues to watch things very carefully.

“We feel if we can achieve this level (of positive collections overall) in the current climate, we’re very excited about the future when the national economy turns around,” he said. “We’re poised for some steady growth.”

Thompson said he attributes the overall increase in collections countywide to the availability for shoppers.

“We have more to shop than ever before,” he said. “There are more restaurants, more businesses. We are fortunate to have more developments throughout the county and we are working hard to make sure it continues.

“Hopefully, it should put pressure on the economy to expand even further in the future, which is good news to everyone,” he said.

March’s collections were up 6.5 percent over the same period last year in Andalusia; April’s were up 2 percent for the same period, as were collections for the same period for the county.