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Sales tax revenues across Sullivan continue overall growth trend

J. H. Osborne • Jul 24, 2016 at 6:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sales tax revenues countywide grew less than 1 percent this month compared to July  2015, according to a report prepared by Sullivan County’s accounting office.

But that increase, however slight compared to the last 11 months of growth, continues an upward trend in sales tax revenue for most sites in the county for the entire 12-month fiscal cycle it represents.

For the 12 months, which provided revenue to local governments and schools for the fiscal year that ended June 30, sales tax revenues countywide totaled nearly $54 million, a growth of about 7.14 percent (or about $3.6 million) compared to the prior fiscal year.

And sales tax collections from businesses within the city of Kingsport continue to make up the bulk of all such collections, with more than $34.21 million of the $54 million coming from within the Model City.

Businesses inside the city of Bristol generated more than $12.4 million of the $54 million.

The $34.21 million figure for Kingsport during the 12-month period represents growth of about $1.36 million, or 4.13 percent, compared to the year prior.

The $12.4 million figure for Bristol during the 12-month period represents growth of more than $1.86 million, or about 17.7 percent, compared to a year ago.

Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants. May sales tax collections, for example, came back as revenue to Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol, Bluff City and Johnson City — as well as to the three school systems in the county — this month.

Sales tax revenues are generated when money is spent on goods and services at businesses throughout the county and its cities.

When a consumer pays sales tax locally, it is sent to the state, which redistributes it to the county and its cities based on the collection site.

Local option sales tax revenues are split 50/50 — with half going to school systems in the county and the other half going to the local government where the collecting business is located.

Every dollar of local option sales taxes collected in Kingsport, for example, generates 50 cents for the county’s three school systems (the money is split based on average daily attendance) and 50 cents for city coffers.

Countywide, local sales tax revenues this month (generated by sales in May) totaled about $4.3 million — up .08 percent, or $3,336 compared to the same month a year ago.

Where did the $54 million in revenue go?

According to the accounting office’s report (some numbers rounded):

• The city of Kingsport’s non-school share of taxes totals about $17.17 million, an increase of $678,722 compared to a year ago.

• The Kingsport City Schools system’s share is more than $8.55 million, an increase of $634,921 compared to a year ago.

• The city of Bristol’s non-school share totals more than $6.2 million, an increase of $931,189 compared to a year ago.

• The Bristol City Schools system’s share totals more than $5.33 million, an increase of $473,762 compared to a year ago.

• Sullivan County’s non-school portion of sales taxes generated outside the cities totals more than $3.22 million, an increase of $112,842 compared to a year ago.

• The Sullivan County Schools system’s share is about $13.12 million, an increase of $703,790 compared to a year ago.