Sales taxes showing city growth

Sales tax receipts in the city rose 10 percent last month.

Even that was no match for the rocketing collections in the Denham Springs Economic District. In the DSED, which includes Bass Pro and Sam’s Club stores, sales tax collections rose 119 percent compared with March 2012.

Parishwide tax collections have risen 30 months in a row, sales-tax records show.

“Businesses look healthier than they have in a number of years,” said Mike Curtis, who heads the parish’s sales tax program. “Most of them appear out of the woods.”

The DSED is providing significant help to the parishwide totals, which were up 9 percent, Curtis said.

The parishwide numbers had already been strong, but have grown even stronger since a Sam’s Club store opened in the DSED and a Wal-Mart store opened in Watson last year, Curtis said.

“I’m optimistic it is the beginning of a trend,” Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin said of the March collections by the city for sales that occurred in February.

He said he expects to see more growth in and around the DSED and in other parts of the city.

Durbin said he thinks a large portion of the six acres remaining vacant in the DSED will be developed within the next year and that a lot of development will occur just south of the economic district.

“I think the money people are looking real hard at Denham Springs,” he said.

School Board tax collections were up 7 percent, while collections for the Sheriff’s Office and the parish government were up 6 percent, the records show.

Motor vehicle taxes, which go to the taxing district where the buyer lives, were up 26 percent for the parish in March.

The parish’s hotel-and-motel tax was flat.

While tax collections for Denham Springs, the parish’s largest city, was up 10 percent and the town of Livingston’s collections were up 5 percent, the parish’s other municipalities did not fare as well.

Collections in Walker, the parish’s second largest city, were down 16 percent, which was the fourth consecutive month that the receipts were lower than the same month the previous year.

The town of Springfield saw collections fall 21 percent after consecutive increases of 15 percent the two previous months.

Albany’s collections dropped 9 percent, after falling 4 percent in February.