In the midst of economic hardships, the City of Kennett ended the year on an up note, reporting an increase in sales tax revenue for 2010. Over all, the increase from 2009 to 2010 was $52,182. 20 according to official reports. Part of this increase, approximately $27,601.70, is attributed to the 1/8 cents sales tax that was imposed by the city during the months of October, November and December. Brenda Privett, city clerk, noted that this increase was needed to off-set shutting down some city services, due to lack of funding.
The figures are based on the months of January through December, as compared to those figures for the same time period of 2009. Sales tax revenue for 2009 was $1,252,559.75 and for 2010, the figure was $1,304,741.95.
During the twelve months of 2010, there was an increase in tax revenue for the months of January, March, June, August, November, and December. Months showing a decrease include February, April, May, July, September and October.
Privett noted that money gained through the city sales tax goes into the General Fund and is used for all city departments, except for the Park and Recreation Department, citing that this department has its own separate tax. The money in the General Revenue Fund is then used for any expenses, general and administrative including the police, fire and street departments.
"Expenses keep going up, revenue doesn't go up because it can't because all the revenue we get is sales tax an we can't increase it without the voters voting to do that," Privett explained, adding that the city does receive property tax which is set by the state and franchise tax.
These three taxes are the main sources of the city's revenue.
Privett also noted that with revenue being low in the past and the budget being constrained, services such as mosquito spraying and the annual clean-up were previously cut out.
Other Dunklin County communities, outside of Kennett, that also showed an increase were Cardwell, Arbyrd and Holcomb and Senath.
According to Mary Vaughn, city clerk for Cardwell, the city showed an increase in sales tax revenue in 2010. The city ended up collecting $35,312.36, while the amount in 2009 was reported as $32,402.47. This is an increase of $2,909.89, a 9.0 percent increase, according to Vaughn. She added that the city keeps the sales tax from the city, but that on a state level, the tax actually collected from the businesses goes to the Missouri Department of Revenue. It, in turn, then proportionally distributes some of the Missouri Funds back to the city.
For the city of Arbyrd, City Clerk Erma Branum noted that compared to last year the city is up about $3,527.12. She reports 2010 sales tax revenue as $35,822.49 as compared to $32,295.37 in 2009. Branum attributed this increase to more sales in the city.
City Clerk of Holcomb, Kim Sprouse, noted that the increase in overall sales tax revenue was to sales being up in the city during the Christmas season. The city showed an increase of $1,938.66 in 2010 over 2009. Sales tax revenue for 2009 was $134,634. 80 with 2010 showing $136,573.46.
Mayor Joe Lane of Senath reports the city experienced an overall increase in comparison to 2009. The 2010 figures show the city ended up with $52,553.97 as compared to $48,505.14 for the year of 2009. City Collector Kathy Morgan added, "We thought it'd be down." Lane had cited the fire that destroyed Ramey's, the city's only grocery store, as a possible reason for a decrease. However, Morgan noted that the Dollar General coming into the city and the Christmas season were two likely contributors to the increase.
The only Dunklin County community that reported a decrease in sales tax revenue is Hornersville.
Elisa Johnson, city clerk, noted that the fiscal year for Hornersville is actually from April 30 of one year to April 30 of the next year. She added that from April 30, 2008 to March 31, 2009, (this report was one month shy of April 30) official reports showed that the city took in $38, 696 and was budgeted for $37,000. From April 30, 2009 to April 30, 2010, sales tax revenue showed the city took in $25,000, while being budgeted for $42, 400. So far this year, the city has collected $14,000 and is budgeted for $24,000. City officials had expected July, August and September to be the "slimmest for the city" due to waiting for the crop to come in but expected it to increase after that.
Johnson thinks that some of the reason for the decrease may be the economy struggles as a whole.