According to documents provided by County Manager William Wilson Jr., SPLOST revenues for the month of August were $760,804.97, while SPLOST revenues for the month of July were $678,651.39.
“We’re very hopeful that this trend will carry forward,” Wilson said.
He did not know whether to attribute the increase in tax revenue to the Cash for Clunkers program, which spurred auto sales in the community, or to some other source.
Though the increase brings up the average amount collected, Wilson said the collections would have to be up for several months to compensate for earlier shortfalls.
“If that number kept up, our average collection per month would be $651,000,” he said. “(That’s) not as bad as it could have been.”
The projections for the current SPLOST were $750,000 per month, with a total of $9 million collected per year. However, collections for 2009 have been significantly lower than projections — July was the highest number before August collections exceeded expectations, while the lowest collection was $400,576.05 in April.
If SPLOST revenues follow the August pattern, the total amount collected would be $7.8 million, only 13.8 percent lower than projections.
Wilson said sales taxes cannot be easily predicted due to their association with consumer spending.
“SPLOST numbers are driven by the consumer,” he said.
According to the Consumer Confidence Index created by The Conference Board, consumer confidence hit a high point in August. The low point of the year on the index was in February, according to the index, although the SPLOST low point was in April.
A possible explanation for this could be how the Georgia Department of Revenue calculates revenues. Wilson said of the August revenues, 62 percent were actually from August, while the rest were from earlier months.
“This means we’ve still got another 38 percent of August to go, which makes me optimistic for receipts for the month of October,” he said.