City clerk: Sales tax returns reaching 4-year high
by James Phillips
Jun 19, 2012 | 763 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sales tax collected by the City of Jasper has steadily declined every year since 2008, but City Clerk Kathy Chambless said this year’s numbers are rising at an amazing rate.

“Our sales tax numbers are up 9 percent above last year, and that is simply amazing to me,” Chambless told members of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper Monday. “We should finally go past our 2008 sales tax this year.”

In 2008, the city took in $8.7 million in sales tax, and due to the economic turndown, the city lost sales tax revenue in 2009 and 2010.

The sales tax returns increased in 2011, but Chambless said projections for the remainder of this year show the city will bring in more than $8.9 million in sales tax for 2012, which would be the largest total in the city’s history.

“We couldn’t be happier about the rise in sales tax,” Chambless said.

Chambless said the economy turning around combined with new retail developments in the city have been reasons for the surge in sales tax. She mentioned the recent additions of Goody’s, Hibbett’s and the Love’s Travel Center to the city as major contributors to the sales tax turnaround.

“Those are all developments who located here due to economic incentives provided by the city,” Chambless said. “Those same incentives are available to any business that qualifies. It’s important to get industry into your city, and those additions have our revenue looking good. We want to keep going down that path.”

Chambless said the additional sales tax collected from the Love’s Travel Center alone will pay the debt on the city’s capital improvement loan, which is being used to construct Southside Pool, O’Rear Park and the Jasper Miracle Field. She said the projected yearly sales tax numbers for the Love’s is almost $250,000. She said that figure does not count monies collected from gas taxes.

“What we take in, we have to put out in services,” she said. “The tax money from the Love’s will almost pay the yearly payment on the loan, which is allowing us to provide many more services to our residents and is providing those major projects.”