Sales tax collections up slightly for year

PATTERSON — Members of many different parish governmental agencies convened the second quarterly 2012 St. Mary Parish Council on Governments at the Atchafalaya Golf Course at Idlewild clubhouse to visit and hear from parish leaders Monday.

The event, hosted by the City of Patterson, welcomed administrators and board members from the St. Mary Parish Government, the St. Mary Parish School Board and multiple parish municipalities.

Also present were State Rep. Sam Jones (D-Franklin) and 18th Judicial District Court Judge William Dupont, who is running for the state Court of Appeals, among other parish and regional dignitaries.

After brief comments by Jones and Dupont, the key presentation of the meeting was a report on parish’s second quarter sales tax collections by Jeffery LaGrange of the St. Mary Parish Sales and Use Tax Department.

Concerning the 4 percent sales tax, LaGrange reported the parish collected $3.6 million in April, down 9.2 percent from 2011.

The parish rebounded to collect $3.3 million in May, up 3.9 percent from 2011, and $3.4 million in June, up 9.9 percent from the prior year.

Total quarterly collections for the parish totaled $10.4 million, up .6 percent from 2011. Year-to-date collections for the year totaled $20.82 million.

According to LaGrange, tax collections for the first half of the year came primarily from industrial and gas sectors, automobile sales, and “other” businesses.

“The industrial and oil and gas groups make up 25 percent of our collections, down 3 percent from the same time last year,” he said in assessing the numbers. “Automobile and department stores make up an additional 10 percent each. The automobile sector is showing an increase of 1 percent, department stores are flat, and collections from grocery stores are also up 1 percent from last year.”

Finally, LaGrange addressed hotel occupancy tax collections.

He said following spikes in collections in 2010 from May 2010 through Jan. 2011 due to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there have been slight increases every month this year.

While the average collection is around $50,000 monthly since 2007, collections dipped below $40,000 for Dec. 2011, but have risen every month since, topping out at about $57,000 by the end of May 2012.

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