August Chamber Chat

July brought fireworks, last-minute summer vacations and hot weather. It is a month for families to gather together to celebrate our great country and to enjoy time away for the daily grind and the pressures of work. As we have often said before, it is also a slow season for our retailers.

Here at the Chamber and partnering with Nashville Main Street, we attempt to ease the pain for our businesses by launching our Fantastic Friday campaign to further encourage our citizens to Buy Berrien! This event gives Berrien Shoppers the opportunity to shop locally, enter drawings for prizes from local businesses as well as a special drawing each week for $100 in Berrien Bucks courtesy of the Chamber and Nashville Main Street. Fantastic Friday’s were a fun activity that we hope brought extra foot traffic to our stores and provided extra fun for our Berrien shoppers.

Each month in this column, I take a look at our local tax distributions from the Georgia Department of Revenue to see how much our county has earned from sales tax. The figures that are on the Department of Revenue’s website might not be totally accurate because sales taxes are paid by different businesses at different times. Some may pay monthly while others pay quarterly. However, it is the best available source of information that we have concerning sales tax revenue.

Each penny our county earns is vital to insuring our local governments can provide our citizens with services. So, while it may seem we beat the “Buy Berrien” drum a lot, it is a very important drum to beat. Shopping locally means the sales tax we pay stays in Berrien County to support our needs not the needs of those from outside the county.

In July, we welcomed three new businesses to our county and to the Chamber. Shoppes on Davis, Cross Creek Critters and manufacturer, EZ Portable Buildings held ribbon cuttings and open house for their businesses during July. It is exciting to see not only our retail growing but new industry in our county as well.

In looking at our July, 2017 sales tax revenues, I wanted to see if the taxes paid in 2017 were higher or lower than 2016. I am happy to report the taxes in 2017 were higher in all our towns, county and for the Board of Education. It appears that more and more citizens realizes that it does pay to “Buy Berrien!”

Let’s take a look at the July 2017 figures. LOST earnings for Alapaha were $3860.06; Enigma – $3,864.61; Ray City – $4,556.79; Nashville – $22,821.52 and Berrien County – $77,858.27. SPLOST collection for Berrien County Board of Commissions was $112,960.82 with ELOST for the Berrien County Board of Education $114,506.52.

It’s a great time to live and work in Berrien County. Industries are hiring and on the lookout for quality employees and our sales tax revenues are up from last year! If you have any questions or concerns, drop by the Chamber or give me a call and “Let’s Chat!”