HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI) – Sales tax revenue numbers are beginning to roll in across the state.
For the most part, larger cities have seen a significant drop in revenue.
Smaller cities, however, are seeing the opposite.
Starkville, for example, reports a more than 13% drop in sales tax revenue for April. That, by the way, is much better than projected.
However, the city of Houston said it has experienced a record high for the same month.
Houston is in the middle of its new downtown beautification project.
Projects like this depend on city resources. Some of those resources stem from things like sales tax revenue.
After the coronavirus pandemic, the initial thought was that these types of resources for the city could be lower than in previous years.
“Like everybody, we were really scared that the numbers were going to be down tremendously because of this COVID outbreak,” said Sean Johnson.
Johnson is the Executive Director of the Chickasaw Development Foundation.
He said this year, the county’s tax sales revenue is at a record high.
“We had a 26% increase in our sales tax for April,” said Johnson.
Area businesses said this is because people are choosing to stay home and shop locally instead of traveling to larger cities.
“Well the first two weeks was slow doing the curb-side, but after that, I mean, it was just as if we were open. 400… 300 tickets. I mean, it was booming… Nobody wants to travel, and I mean, everybody loves No Way Jose. The waitresses, the people, it’s just a good atmosphere here,” said No Way Jose waitress Danyelle Black.
Johnson said because of the positive numbers, the city will be able to move forward with renovations for the downtown square.
“We’re re-doing our downtown with new sidewalks. We’ve got a couple of new ordinances that we’re putting into place, sign ordinances and keeping thru-traffic of big trucks out of downtown. So these are meant to beautify and make the square a more pedestrian-friendly place,” said Johnson.
If all goes well, the project should be complete by the upcoming holiday season.
“The holiday shopping and the Christmas parades and all that… That’s kind of when we’re wanting to see a brand new downtown or at least see in on the horizon,” said Johnson.
Johnson said he hopes Houston residents will continue to shop locally.
“It’s incumbent upon small towns to up their game. Make themselves a place people want to visit and make themselves a place people want to shop, and that’s what we’re working on here in Houston,” said Johnson.
The city is also working to bring power lines and utility cables underground soon.