Linden sales tax revenue down

Published 3:39 pm Friday, December 26, 2008

LINDEN – In just a few weeks, the sales tax revenue figures will give area municipalities a glimpse of how the local retail market fared this holiday season.

However, preliminary data does not good for one Marengo County city.

Linden’s sales tax revenue has taken a nose-dive in recent years, falling off by $86,487 last year from three years before.

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Linden mayor Mitzi Gates indicated that the expansion of Walmart to a Super Wal-Mart approximately three years ago played a pivotal role in how much money is being spent in Linden.

“That’s a big part of it,” she said. “(Walmart) has taken shoppers from Linden and they’ve gone to Demopolis.”

More recently, the reduction in sales tax revenues can be attributed to lay-offs at Linden Lumber and other setbacks in the Linden labor market.

Through two rounds of lay-offs at Linden Lumber, for example, more than 300 workers no longer commute to and through Linden for their job.

“That results in fewer purchases made in stores throughout the city by employees traveling into and out of town,” Gates said.

Linden’s sales tax revenue for the fiscal year of 2004-2005, which runs from November to October, totaled $647,120. It fell the next year to $602,480 in 2005-2006, and again to $585,936 in 2006-2007. Last year it hit a five year low at $560,633.

The one bright spot in the picture is a slight increase was recorded last month over November 2007. The sales tax revenue for November 2007 totaled $41,480. It was $41,976 this year – an increase of $496. In October and November 2004, Linden sales tax revenue was $111,566. This year it was $88,245 – a 21 percent decrease. The December sales tax numbers should be in shortly after the New Year. City officials are curious to see what effect this year’s ChillyFest may have had on local spending.