Coweta sales tax receipts down

Portions of the Coweta County economy continue to improve over time and the Great Recession will hopefully become just a memory. Yet it has long been the case that higher unemployment is still an issue over the past few years. More recently, sales tax collections for the Coweta County School System are down by more than $950,000 over the same period a year ago.

Revenue collections for the school system’s 1-percent sales tax (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) from October 2012 through September 2013 was reported at $19,714,947. That figure compares to the $20,666,487 collected for the same period a year earlier, a difference of $951,540 and representing a 4.6 percent decrease.

While the decrease over the past year is less than desirable, a glance at collections since 2008 shows a more balanced story. Collections from October 2008 through September 2009 were $20.352 million. One year later, and well into the recession, receipts totaled $19.052 million, a 6.38 percent decrease. Things picked up a bit the following year and revenues from October 2010 through September 2011 totaled $19.255 million.

Looking back a decade and a half, monthly collections ranged from $544,279 in July 1997 to $893,253 in May 1998. Collections first topped $1 million in April 1999. It was during that time frame, as Coweta continued to grow relatively rapidly, that collections went above $1 million per month.

In more recent years, and as Coweta’s population swelled to nearly 130,000 and venues such as Ashley Park opened and drew regional shoppers, sales tax collections customarily ranged from $1.5-2 million per month.

As for the future, Coweta’s unemployment continues to see a slow but steady decline in the jobless rate compared to the period several years ago when the recession was full-force and the county continues to see an incremental, but significant, increase in the number of commercial, industrial and healthcare-related businesses either locating or expanding in the county.

A number of those businesses, such as the Nissan dealership on Ga. Highway 34 at Interstate 85 and the 50-bed rehabilitation hospital near Piedmont Newnan Hospital, will open in 2014.