City retail sales up more than three percent

New Albany retail sales are increasing at a rate nearly double this year’s 1.7-percent cost-of-living adjustment, and those sales account for a whopping $220 million spent here last year.

Merchants collect a seven-percent tax on retail sales that is sent to the state. Of that amount, 18.5 percent is returned to the city.

In 2013, the city got back nearly $2,854,000, which covers a large part of the city’s expenses.

Growth over the previous year was about three and one-half percent.

New Albany retail sales continue to be better than many North Mississippi towns. Based on November 2013 figures (it takes three months to complete the sales tax collection and distribution cycle), New Albany’s July1-to-date total of $1,176,314 was beaten only by Corinth ($2,296,165), Oxford ($3,061,799) and, of course, Tupelo with $7,217,081. Jackson’s total was $13,267,820.

Pontotoc was lower with $937,099 and Ripley had $489,773.

Locally, the July1-to-November totals were $15,627 for Blue Springs, $5,408 for Dumas, $61,746 for Ecru, $26,453 for Hickory Flat, $22,618 for Myrtle and $58,622 for Sherman.

The city also collects a two-percent “tourism tax,” levied primarily on hotel rooms and on food prepared on the premises. The tax was created through a local and private bill in the state legislature with the revenue to be used to promote tourism living opportunity for retirees.

In 2003, that tax brought in nearly $385,000 – money that could be used for expenses not otherwise possible without raising ad valorem taxes. By 2012, the tourism tax revenue had increased nearly 47 percent and the 2013 total was more than $625,000, and increase of nearly 11 percent over the previous year.