City reports reduction in SPLOST V revenue - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City reports reduction in SPLOST V revenue

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June 19, 2007

Albany--  Albany city leaders say less sales tax money is rolling in. Each month, the city collects sales tax that goes towards SPLOST V projects. But for the past two months, those collections have been reduced by thousands of dollars.

For the past four years, Envy in downtown Albany has been going strong.

"It just keeps getting better and better," said owner Julia Temples, "Albany needed this and it goes really good."

Temples says despite changing times, she hasn't seen a change in business. "No, everybody is still shopping for clothes," said Temples. That outlook may not be as bright for other businesses. Retail, food and automotive businesses bring lots of sales tax revenue to the city. Lately, not as much.

"It's been a valid, mathematically $100,000 less," said City Manager Alfred Lott. The city reports a drop in SPLOST 5 revenue. In February, the city collected about $935,000. In March, there was a collection of about $950,000. But in April there was a change.  Only $794,000 came in. It was a little more in May.

"We get a lot of money off of tourists and hotels, a lot of sales tax is from our major retailers and our malls and people have less money to spend," said Lott.

City Manager Alfred Lott believes things like inflation have caused people to shop less. The drop in revenue could also be due to a rise in other things like gas prices.

"People stop buying more and start paying for more gas or other things or just start spending less," said Lott. But he hopes that outlook changes and numbers get back over the $900,000 mark soon.

"We're hoping that this trend is a short lived one," said Lott. As far as Temples, she hopes her trend of steady business continues.

"Everyone wants to stay fashionable and you gotta have clothes," said Temples. As more people hand over money to retailers in Albany, they'll continue helping to fund long-term projects in return.

City leaders expect to get nearly 66-million dollars from SPLOST 5 revenue.  It was originally thought that the city would collect much more than that in the long run. Now, Lott says as long as the city receives a little more than $800,000 each month, they'll at least get the 66-million. He'll know for sure by the end of the month.