BY SARAH R. GREGORY
Sales tax collections in Greeneville have increased from the same time last year, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen noted Tuesday.
During the regular review of the previous month's financial report, Mayor W.T. Daniels noted that "sales tax is up a little bit, thank goodness, compared to last year, for July, August, September and October."
Town Recorder Carol Susong said that, in addition to sales tax, revenue from the state's Hall tax on income earned from stocks and bonds is up.
Property tax collections, Susong said, are currently down, but added that "it's hard to tell" about that revenue stream, as a large amount of property tax is collected closer to its due date, in February.
Notable on the expenditure side, Susong said, is an increase in spending for public safety.
She attributed the increase to the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, which provided additional officers in the Greeneville Police Department for enhanced school safety.
Spending for "general government is up a little bit," Susong said, adding, "but we're ahead of the game on our audit, so we've already paid part of that, and also, we didn't have an HR [Human Resources] person last year from August until October," Susong added.
Alderman Darrell Bryan said that the sales tax collection figures were getting closer to numbers from 2008, before the worst of the national economic downturn.
So far during fiscal year 2014, which began in July, sales tax revenue has totaled $2,647,334.69.
During the same period in fiscal year 2013, a total of $2,601,083.20 had been collected.
For a month-to-month comparison, for example, in October this year, sales tax revenue totaled $531,131.94. In October last year, sales tax collections totaled $514,294.55.
"That's something that's been interesting to watch -- that we're up, when you look over the past five years, but we're back to where we were, or near there," Bryan said.
"We're slowly inching our way back," Susong said.
"It's taken that long to get back to where we were," Bryan observed.
Mayor Daniels said he hopes citizens will keep economic recovery in mind when they shop this holiday season.
"We all know that [sales tax] leakage that goes to other communities doesn't do us any good," Daniels said.
"Not only does it hurt the city, but it hurts the county and the school system, because of the way sales tax is divided.
"So I would hope that people would keep that in mind when they go out of town to trade, that they're really taking resources to support other communities," Daniels said.