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Sales tax revenues: Countywide total drops this month compared to October 2015

J. H. Osborne • Oct 20, 2016 at 10:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sales tax revenues countywide dropped more than 2 percent this month compared to October 2015, according to a report prepared by Sullivan County’s accounting office.

It ends 14 straight months of growth for most sites in the county.

October sales tax revenue countywide totaled more than $4.57 million, a decrease of 2.06 percent (or $96,120) compared to the same period last year.

Sales tax collections from businesses within the city of Kingsport continue to make up the bulk of all such collections, with about $2.65 million of the $4.57 million coming from within the Model City.

But revenue from collections within Kingsport accounted for the largest portion of the overall drop this month: the nearly $2.65 million represents a nearly $320,000 decrease from the nearly $2.97 million in revenue from Kingsport during the same month a year ago.

Businesses inside the city of Bristol generated $1.22 million of the $4.57 million — an increase of $141,242 over October 2015.

For the three-month period since the current fiscal year began, the portion of sales tax collections generated within Kingsport is about $228,000, or 2.66 percent, less compared to the same three months a year ago.

The figure for Bristol during the three-month period represents growth of $474,000, or about 15.7 percent, compared to a year ago.

Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants. August  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.

Year-to-date, the countywide total for sale tax revenue is nearly $13.92 million. That represents an increase of $376,973 (or 2.78 percent) from the same period last year.

Where did the $13.92 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 $4.18 million, a decrease of $114,196 compared to a year ago.

• The Kingsport City Schools system’s share is more than $2.22 million, an increase of about $88,000 compared to a year ago.

• The city of Bristol’s non-school share totals more than $1.74 million, an increase of $236,799 compared to a year ago.

• The Bristol City Schools system’s share totals about $1.38 million, an increase of $45,000 compared to a year ago.

• Sullivan County’s non-school portion of sales taxes generated outside the cities totals $921,392, an increase of $91,767 compared to a year ago.

• The Sullivan County Schools system’s share is about $3.36 million, an increase of $55,681 compared to a year ago.