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Sales tax collections show growth

Sales taxes collected in Covington County for March show signs of an improving local economy, with Andalusia, Opp, Florala and the county each reporting collections up from the same month last year.

Taxes collected in March were remitted in April.

In Andalusia, collections were up nearly $30,000 compared with same period last year. A total of $364,289 was remitted for March sales, bringing the year-to-date total to $2,349,827 – up less than 1 percent from this time last year.

In Opp, officials believe that the annual Rattlesnake Rodeo helped March’s sales tax collections. City Clerk Connie Smith said $184,072 in sales tax was remitted in April for March sales. And while totals from the same month last year weren’t available because of computer issues, Smith said she knew definitively collections were up.

“We know (the rodeo) helps because it brings people to town,” Smith said. “When they’re here, they eat in our restaurants, buy gas and visit our other stores.”

Assistant County Administrator Pam Steele said the county collected $688,757 – a more than $19,000 increase over April 2011 collections of $669,677.

Steele said year-to-date collections are at $4,542,818, which is down slightly – 1.15 percent – from last year this time.

The most positive economic news may be in Florala, where an influx of new businesses has helped to increase sales tax collections slightly. Mayor Robert Williamson said the trend is expected to continue with the addition of a new package store and a new title loan company opening their doors.

City Clerk Kathy Rathel said the city collected $36,570 for March sales – an increase of nearly $3,000 from this time last year.

“That brings our year-to-date total to just over $226,000, which gives us a jump of right at $10,000 from now a year ago,” she said. “And that’s just great news.”