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Oxford sales tax revenues see big jump

The City of Oxford is slowly returning to pre-pandemic times as events begin to return, drawing more people and the latest sales tax report reflects that.

During Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Mayor Robyn Tannehill reported the city’s sales tax revenues for March were up 49 percent compared to March 2020, taking in $1,053,709.24. The revenue also increased more than $320,000 from February.

“Our tax revenues definitely indicate that we are heading in the right direction,” Tannehill said.

Totals reported each month reflect tax revenues collected two months prior. May’s report reflects March’s tax revenue collections for Oxford. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Mississippi and for the second half of the month Oxford was mostly shut down.

Oxford’s food and beverage tax collection in March totaled $364,704 and up 52 percent from February. The tourism tax, which comes from the city’s hotel and motels, was up 47 percent from February with $35,952 collected in March.

The food and beverage tax was up 67 percent from March of last year while the tourism tax was up 54 percent from last year.

Visit Oxford executive director Kinney Ferris provided a mid-year report for Visit Oxford and provided some positive news regarding tourism’s steady return to pre-pandemic numbers.

People who visited Oxford spent more than $145 million during their stay over the last 12 months. Ferris divided that number up by the number of homes in Lafayette County and stated each resident saves about $730 per year in taxes due to Oxford’s successful tourism industry.

“If we wanted to have everything we do now because of tourism dollars but didn’t have visitors coming here, we would need to make that up with our citizens’ household taxes,” Ferris told the board during her presentation.

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