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Sales taxes show growth

Tax collections throughout Covington County continued to show growth through the month of July.

The most recent sales tax numbers, which represent sales in July and paid in August, show Andalusia reported the greatest increase in collections from this time last year. City Clerk John Thompson said the city reported $391,175 – an inc rease of more than $26 ,000 from the July 2010 total of $364,912, or 7.2 percent.

“And the total 12-month collections came in at $4.65 million, whereas that same period last year was at $4.48 million,” Thompson said. “The totals are clicking in the right direction because, in my opinion, it was this time last year, the Gulf (of Mexico) was full of oil and the beach traffic had dried up.

“And now we’ve gotten several reports from businesses in that beach traffic corridor that said traffic has increased significantly,” he said. “Combine that with increased traffic into our area for business and trade, and those are the likely reasons for the up-tick.”

Thompson said city officials are working hard to make sure Andalusia maintains its status as the “retail trade center” for Covington County.

“And that means work to increase the number and the quality of businesses here and to improve infrastructure for our current businesses to expand to offer more goods and services,” he said. “And we think it’s working. The proof is there in the numbers.”

County collections were also up, showing a 5.3 percent increase from the same collection period last year.

In July 2010, sales taxes from purchases came in at $615,850, and then, the year-to-date collections were nearly $6.7 million. In July, the monthly collections rose by nearly $10,000 to $625,324, bringing the year-to-date collections to $7.05 million.

In Opp, collections appeared to be steady with $159,622 reported for July – an increase of $3,235 from the previous month and a nearly $2,000 increase from 2010’s July total of $157,781, said City Clerk Connie Smith.

If the collection trend continues, Opp could “break even” in sales tax collections for this fiscal year.

“We always hope for an increase, but breaking even is good, too,” Smith said.

Florala City Clerk Kathy Rathel said Florala received $34,048 for July’s sales, and year-to-date, the city has received $361,331.38 – which is a little more than 4.75 percent increase.