The new 3 percent tourism tax in Columbia generated $57,002.89 during its first month.
That represents $1.9 million in sales at restaurants and hotels within the city limits during July.
The Board of Aldermen received a report from City Clerk Maria Temples about the funds during its meeting Tuesday.
Voters in May approved a referendum to charge the 3 percent on restaurant and hotel sales to fund a sportsplex and other parks and tourism projects. The tax began being collected July 1.
The city had expected the tax to generate about $750,000 a year, based on the amount of sales in the 2018 fiscal year. However, the $57,000 brought in during July would only represent about $684,000 if extended out at that rate over 12 months.
Alderman Mike Smith said not all of the businesses that are supposed to be charging the tax have started yet. He said the state will step in and take care of that.
There’s a three-month cycle on sales tax collections: During July stores collected the tax from customers; during August the stores paid the taxes to the Mississippi Department of Revenue; during September the Department of Revenue paid the city its portion.
At Tuesday’s aldermen meeting, Mayor Justin McKenzie was out of town so Alderman-at-large Edward Hough acted in the capacity of mayor pro tem in McKenzie’s absence.
Police Chief Michael Kelly received approval to send Justin Poirer to training at Camp Shelby to get shoulder fire qualification and certification.
Kelly advised the board there will be some traffic diversions in the city the next few weeks because of homecoming parades.
Building inspector Carrie Thornhill requested and received a resolution to mow and clean the following properties:
- 409 Conner St.
- 411 Conner St.
- 1707 N. Main St.
- 1201 N. Park Ave.
- 413 Owens St.
- 419 Lafayette St.
- Wilks Road/McDonald Lane (empty lot).
A resolution to mow and clean 50 Wilks Road, which is owned by Steve Broom, was postponed for 90 days after Broom addressed the board asking for an extension.
Thornhill also received approval for hearings for demolition for:
- 310 Hawkins Ave.;
- 420a Pearl St.;
- 420b Pearl St..
Personnel changes approved include:
- Resignation of Joshua McPherson from the Police Department;
- Transfer of Dennis Page from reserve to full-time;
- Hiring of April Prine and Danielle Barber part-time at the Animal Control Center. n