Sullivan sales tax revenues continue growth

J. H. Osborne • Jan 25, 2017 at 9:45 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Monthly sales tax revenues countywide were up less than 1 percent this month compared to January 2016, according to a report prepared by Sullivan County’s accounting office.

For county government, any increase is good news because the county developed its budget for the year using a conservative approach by estimating sales tax revenue equal to last year’s level.

January sales tax revenue totaled about $4.43 million, an increase of .99 percent (or $43,562) compared to January 2016.

Sales tax collections from businesses within the city of Kingsport continue to make up the bulk of all such collections, with $2.74 million of the $4.43 million coming from within the Model City.

Businesses inside the city of Bristol generated $1.04 million of the $4.43 million — an increase of about $54,652 over January 2016.

For the six-month period since the current fiscal year began, the portion of sales tax collections generated within Kingsport is about $537,000 (3.1 percent) less compared to the same six-month period a year ago.

The figure for Bristol during the six-month period represents growth of about $901,000 (15.31 percent), compared to a year ago.

Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants. October 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 — in December.

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 sales tax revenue is $27.37 million. That represents an increase of nearly $613,000 (or 2.29 percent) from the same period last year.

Where did the $27.37 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 $8.3 million, a decrease of $268,429 compared to a year ago.

• The Kingsport school system’s share is $4.37 million, an increase of about $153,000 compared to a year ago.

• The city of Bristol’s non-school share totals nearly $3.4 million, an increase of $450,375 compared to a year ago.

• The Bristol school system’s share totals more than $2.7 million, an increase of $75,453 compared to a year ago.

• Sullivan County’s non-school portion of sales taxes generated outside the cities totals more than $1.76 million, an increase of about $142,000 compared to a year ago.

• The Sullivan County school system’s share is about $6.6 million, an increase of $78,117 compared to a year ago.