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Wetumpka sales tax revenues on the rise

Published 4:13am Thursday, August 8, 2013

With two months still remaining in the fiscal year, Wetumpka’s sales tax revenues are on track to reach their highest mark since 2006-07.
For the third straight year, sales tax collections have shown a steady increase. Through July 31, receipts were $292,419 higher (6.25 percent) than last fiscal year (2011-12).
City Clerk Janice Whorton is cautiously optimistic about the gains.
“We’ve shown pretty steady increases since things bottomed out three years ago,” she said. “I don’t see any reason August and September wouldn’t be similar or better than last year, but you never know what factors could come into it.”
Wetumpka’s good fortune in the sales tax arena isn’t mirrored statewide. Through the end of April, Alabama’s gross sales tax revenues were down 1 percent and net sales tax receipts showed a 10 percent decrease.
Whorton said it’s difficult to pin down exactly where the increases originate. But, she said it is likely purchases made since last summer by casino construction workers – who at minimum buy meals and gasoline locally – have contributed to the higher sales tax collections. Some materials for the massive building project are also bought from city retailers, generating sales tax receipts.
Through July 31, the city had collected $4,970,704 in sales taxes, compared to $4,678,285 for the same period the previous year. The city’s current fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2012 and will end Sept. 30, 2013.
During the nationwide economic downturn, collections dropped from a high of $6 million in 2006-07 to $5.8 million in 2007-08, then $5.5 million in 2008-09. Sales tax revenues bottomed at $5.3 million in 2009-10 before seeing a slight rebound in 2010-11 and a larger one in 2011-12.
Sales tax revenues are the largest single source of income for the city annually, accounting for more than 60 percent of its total revenue. The remainder of the city’s funding derives from property taxes, business licenses, fuel taxes and other levies.
Of the 8 percent sales tax collected in the Wetumpka city limits, three cents go to the city, four to the State of Alabama and one to the Elmore County Board of Education.
The accompanying table details the city’s sales tax revenues for the past several years.

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