Wiregrass Newsroom: Sluggish economy not to blame for drop in sales tax revenues

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - According to Houston County leaders, the sound of a cash register was a little harder to come by this past April.

Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver says April's sales tax revenues were the lowest they'd seen in months.

"It was down 10.5% which was a surprise."

So why the sudden drop in April when January, February and March reported only about 1% percent lower than last year?

Leaders say the heavy rain and flooding that hit the area this spring kept shoppers inside and off the roads.

"We had 20 or 30 roads closed for nearly a week, so really people had a hard time getting out [to spend] money during that time," says Culver.

One big store noticed the change.

"It was really rough," says Wal-Mart Assistant Manager, Chauncey Jackson.

Jackson says sales went down overall, but shot up in one area.

"Our paint department was a real good department due to people repainting their homes and stuff like that."

Houston County leaders don't think the decrease will last.

"I believe April is an anomaly and not a new trend.  We'll see when we get the May expenditure numbers," says Culver.

He says the drop in county funds means money for maintenance projects is redirected and is now going toward repairing roads.

Leaders say the county is down 5% in sales tax revenues this year compared to last.

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