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City sales tax revenue down despite new businesses

A decrease in sales tax revenue... That's in spite of new businesses that have come to Dothan. And also despite efforts to attract new companies, including the recent Chinese symposium.
City Manager Mike West discusses the economic factors affecting the current sales tax revenue downswing.
City Manager Mike West discusses the economic factors affecting the current sales tax revenue downswing.
Mayor Mike Schmitz says the current and upcoming city projects create a positive outlook for future sales tax revenue.
Mayor Mike Schmitz says the current and upcoming city projects create a positive outlook for future sales tax revenue.
"We're going through the same thing the national economy is going through, the economy's struggling to move forward," said City Manager Mike West.
 
And the struggle is evident when it comes to the city's sales tax revenue, as people continue to cut back on spending.

"Well, obviously, we're disappointed our sales tax revenue's down,” said Mayor Mike Schmitz.  “The good news is it's not down a lot in that it seems to be fairly stable.”

The most recent report shows sales tax revenue is down by 2.4%, and right now, it's down by about $300,000.00 from this time last year.

"I think the economy is still tough.  I think people still have fear about jobs.  Look what just happened at Wayne Farms.  We didn't expect to lose those jobs,” Schmitz said.  “The good news is we're able to hopefully absorb most of the folks into jobs, but it's a step back when you lose jobs like that.  The confidence went down a little bit, and maybe we can, with the new projects we have, recover from that."

Those projects include new retail developments and a research and development project at the new medical school.  Schmitz says they also hope to close on a few other projects over the next six months.

But city officials say while tax revenues are down, the city's budget is a different story.

"The good news is, compared to our budget we're about 1.7 million dollars ahead of budget.  So we knew, based on what the economists say, we would be in some slow growth patterns, and we were better off being conservative.

The city expects the recent projects and investments to pay off within the next five to ten years.

As the city's population continues to grow, city officials say it will support the expansion of local businesses.

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