DENHAM SPRINGS – Sales taxes collected in Livingston Parish in February dropped by $2.8 million, but don’t blame the month having only 28 days, according to the director of the School Board’s Sales Tax Office.

“January is reflective of Christmas sales and February is reflective of January sales,” said Mike Curtis, Sales Tax Office director.

February missing two or three days only has a small effect, he said.

Christmas shopping influenced the end of the year, Curtis said, and now the post-Christmas period influences the start of the new year.

“If you look at the preceding months of October, November and December, you see a gradual increase for Christmas sales,” Curtis said.

After Christmas, there is a “gradual” fall off in sales tax for possibly up to three months, he said.

The total amount of sales taxes collected in the parish last month was $8,996,156, a drop of $2,897,626. Still, it is a 25 percent increase over $7,180,029 collected in February 2016.  

For the first eight months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the parish has taken in $79,253,572 in sales taxes, a 26.2 percent increase compared with $62,797.415 collected in the same time period of the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The parish hotel/motel tax was the only sales tax to show an increase.

The 3-cent sales tax took in $30,511, a jump of $5,295 from January’s $25,216, also a 31 percent increase from $23,289 in February 2016.

For the eight months of the 2016-17 fiscal year, the hotel/motel tax has collected $245,749, an increase of 6 percent over $231,320 through eight months of the 2015-6 fiscal year,

The motor vehicle sales tax continued its decline, falling by $408,201. The tax brought in $1,735,830 in February, compared with $2,144,031 in January.

“Toward the end of the year, there is a spike in car sales,” Curtis said.

“In a normal year, dealers try to move older models and make room for newer models and people decide it’s time to get a new car. Cars are a big-ticket item,” Curtis said.

August’s flooding that destroyed cars forced parish residents to get new cars sooner, which drove up sales tax numbers.

So now, motor vehicle sales are declining, along with their sales taxes. 

As parish residents finish repairing and refurbishing homes, sales taxes also will wane, Curtis added until they reach the “new normal.”

But where that new normal will be is not known, he added.

“What will happen July 1?” when the next fiscal year begins, Curtis said. “We’re not sure yet.”

Still, the motor vehicle tax has totaled $20,994,327 so far this fiscal year, an increase of 104 percent over last fiscal year’s $10,305,952 at this point.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office half-cent sales tax generated $845,013 last month, a drop of $243,930 in January. Compared with February 2016’s $669,836, last month was a 26 percent increase.

For the first eight months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the sales tax brought in $7,502,714, an increase of 29.5 percent compared with the same time period of the 2015-16 fiscal year ($5,791,746).

The Livingston Parish Council tax collected $1,664,216 last month, a drop of $461,783 from January’s $2,125,999, but still 26 percent higher than $1,320,163 taken in in February 2016.

For the first eight months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the board’s 1-cent tax has brought in $14,822,118, a 30.2 percent increase over $11,382,368 for the same time period of the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The School Board tax took in $3,410,121, a drop of $100,450 from January’s $4,412,571. February’s total is still 25.9 percent higher than the $2,708,487 recorded in February 2016.

For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the 2-cent tax has brought in $30,283,445, a 29.19 increase from $23,441,087 in 2015-16.

The School Board’s second, half-cent tax collected $750,407, a drop of $211,191 from January’s $961,598. It also is 25.5 percent above February’s $597,764.

For this fiscal year, the tax sales has collected $6,611,471, or 29.13 percent more than last year’s $5,120,019.

School District 22 took in $179,360, a decline of $61,629 from January’s $240,989. This is still 21.6 percent more than the $147,503 in February 2016.

For this fiscal year, the 1-cent tax has brought in $1,617,683, or 30.63 percent more than last year’s $1,238,371.

School District 33 saw $11,414 last month, a dip of $1,644 from $13,058 in January. This is 57 percent more than the $7,267 in February 2016.

For this fiscal year, the 1-cent tax has collected $80,203, or 7.39 percent more than last year’s $74,683.

The Denham Springs Economic Development District, the Bass Pro development, generated $289,402, a $259,579 drop from $548,981 in January. In February 2016, the sales tax took in $284,972.

The development district is only 1 percent behind what it took in through eight months of the 2015-16 fiscal year ($2,663,106). After eight months, the sales tax has brought in $2,648,398.

The Juban Economic Development District, the Juban Crossing shopping center, took in $203,255, a $205,358 drop from $408,613 last month. Still, February’s numbers are 32 percent higher than February 2016’s $153,586.

The development district is 9 percent behind what it took in through eight months of fiscal 2015-16. The tax has brought in $1,442,823 this fiscal year.

The City of Denham Springs sales tax took in $670,379, a $191,330 drop from January’s $861,709. This is still 22 percent ahead of $550,998 in February 2016.

So far this fiscal year, the 1½-cent tax has taken in $5,431,411, a 10 percent increase over last fiscal year’s $4,935,610.

The City of Walker tax collected $392,928, a $121,454 decline from last month’s $514,382. Compared with February 2016’s $278,659, this is a 41 increase.

For the 2016-17 fiscal year, its 1½-cent tax has brought in $3,576,132, a 36.7 increase over $2,615,820 in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The Town of Livingston sales tax brought in $57,744, a $2,619 dip from January’s $60,363. This is still 15 percent ahead of $50,025 in February 2016.

So far this fiscal year, the 1-cent tax has taken in $418,395, a 31 percent increase over last fiscal year’s $319,911.

The Town of Albany’s 1-cent tax generated $30,869, a $4,557 decline from last month’s $35,426. Compared to February 2016’s $27,273, this is a 13 increase.

For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the city has brought in $277,376, a 15 increase over $241,455 in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The Town of Springfield sales tax saw $31,743, a $6,787 drop from January’s $38,530. This is 10 percent less than the 35,235 collected in February 2016.

So far this fiscal year, the town’s 2-cent tax has taken in $284,345, a 7.1 percent drop compared with last fiscal year’s $305,939.

Three drainage districts monitored by the School Board each showed a decline from January, but are 30 percent or more ahead at this point of the fiscal year compared with last year.

Drainage District 1 collected $162,911, a decline of $48,745, from January’s $211,656. For this fiscal year, the half-cent tax has brought in $1,591,513, 51 percent over 2015-16’s $1,053,834.

Drainage District 2 took in $92,885, a drop of $29,928, from last month’s $122,813. For this fiscal year, the half-cent tax has brought in $828,624, 30 percent over 2015-16’s $626,256.

Drainage District 5 generated $172,989, a decline of $50,208, from January’s $223,197. For this fiscal year, the half-cent tax has brought in $1,591,273, 36.9 percent over 2015-16’s $1,161,985.

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Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at kevinf@livingstonparishnews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.

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