By STEVEN NALLEY
July 2011 revenue from Starkvilleâ€™s 2-percent restaurant tax increased 11.43 percent, or $12,460.80, versus revenues for the same month in 2010, according to the City of Starkvilleâ€™s monthly sales tax report.
July marks the second largest gain in restaurant taxes for 2011 so far, just beneath January 2011â€™s increase of 12.50 percent versus January 2010. Starkvilleâ€™s sales taxes for July 2011 also saw a modest gain of 2.76 percent versus the same month last year.
So far, July is the third most prolific month of 2011 for the restaurant tax, bringing in $121,502.97, just behind Marchâ€™s total of $121,523.37 and Aprilâ€™s total of $138,461.25. It was also the most prolific July on record for the tax dating back to 1998.
Robyn Cain, Starkville Main Street Association program coordinator, said while it is difficult to discern the exact causes of increases and decreases in sales tax revenue, she believes SMSAâ€™s Dog Days of Summer campaign contributed to the increase. Through Dog Days of Summer, SMSA promoted events which were already planned by other organizations.
â€śThey had Christmas in July; they had Running of the Bulldogs,â€ť Cain said. â€śThe merchants said this Christmas in July was the most successful one we had since we started the event, and I think the Dog Days of Summer campaign really helped. It seemed like there were a lot of people in town this summer, like it didnâ€™t really slow down like it usually does.â€ť
Total sales tax revenues for 2011 through July add up to $3,051,250.88, ahead of January-July 2010â€™s total of $3,036,439.01.
This keeps 2011 on pace to beat the annual Starkville sales tax revenue record of $5,317,568.11 set in 2010.
Lynn Spruill, chief administrative officer for the City of Starkville, said annual figures reflect Starkvilleâ€™s growth best, pointing to a collective of new initiatives rather than any monthly event in particular.