City sales tax revenue down 11%

Published 4:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2016

Due in part to a temporary paper mill shutdown in the first months of the year, the City of Bogalusa’s sales tax revenues are down by over 11 percent from this time last year.

The city begins collecting tax revenue for the current fiscal year each February, and to date only has the collections from February and March. However, according to Stacy Smith, the city’s director of administration, the decrease is concerning, if not alarming.

Smith noted that the January 2016 numbers were up over the January 2015 numbers. The sales tax collected in January is from December — and that’s why it is not counted in the current fiscal year — but it showed robust Christmas spending in Bogalusa and it could indicate better months ahead. However, Smith said the paper mill shutdown did impact sales tax.

So far, the city is down $137,652.91 from where it was last year in its sales tax returns, and Smith said if the lag continues, the city could be down some $800,000 by the end of the fiscal year in December.

However, Smith said she’s hopeful flood repairs will help buoy the flagging numbers.

“I’m hoping the flood would help because everyone’s making repairs,” she said. “We need people to buy local while they’re making repairs, as much as they can. If you’re replacing necessities, try to shop as much as you can from home so we can try to bring (the tax revenue) back up.”

Sales tax revenue is a big part of the city’s operating budget. Among other uses, sales tax funds street repairs, water and sewer maintenance, the jail and it goes into the general fund.