By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
FULTON – Even in the middle of a recession, the city of Fulton seems to be thriving.
In December, the city of Fulton collected $151,893 in sales tax. This amount is up more than 24 percent from the year before and, according to Mayor Paul Walker, represents the largest amount of sales tax the city has ever collected.
Although Christmas shopping means the last month of the year always bears a heavy sales tax check, Walker said 2010’s was unusually high. He speculated that financial strains likely kept more people at home this year, pulling local dollars into local businesses rather than to larger cities like Tupelo.
“I believe people are still staying home and doing more of their shopping here,” Walker said.
If this year’s sales tax numbers are any indication, it’s a trend that will continue. According to Walker, Fulton’s sales tax collections for the first five months of this fiscal year are already up more than $47,567 from last year. He credits this growth to the influx of residents into the area.
“People are moving into the county; that has a lot to do with it,” he said. “There are a lot of people moving into Itawamba County and that’s definitely helping our sales tax since we’re the major retail area for our county. A bulk of the shopping is happening here in Fulton.”
The mayor was referring to the growth in the Dorsey, Fawn Grove and Mantachie areas during the past few years.
Thinking of the future, Walker said he’d like to see more businesses expand into the Fulton area. He said the city is in the planning stages of adding a road behind Walmart that would allow for additional retail spaces.
“We’d love to see some additional retail areas set up along Highway 78,” he said. “Overall, we would love to see some men’s clothing stores and more restaurants.”
The mayor credited the near-constant work on the city’s roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure – a process he said began in 2001- to its ability to keep pace with the demand for growth.
“I think our board has been very forward thinking,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about it all. I have a feeling we’re going to keep growing throughout this area. I think we’re going to see a lot more people coming into this area.
“We just want to keep on with our growth,” Walker added.
Contact Adam Armour at (662) 862-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.