City of Vicksburg continues post-COVID economic growth

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

One year after Vicksburg began its recovery from the effects of COVID-19, the city’s financial picture continues to improve as city sales tax figures continue to exceed collections from fiscal 2021.

According to information from the city’s accounting department, the state’s March sales tax reimbursement to the city was totaled $586,870.65; $7,173.31, or 1.24-percent more than the same period in fiscal 2019, the year before the pandemic hit the area, but $15,291.79 less than the same period for fiscal 2021.

Year-to-date, however, the city has received $2,677,833.20 as of March 15; $79,463.64, or 3.06-percent more than 2019 and about $74,298 more than the same period in 2021.

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The state reimburses Vicksburg 18.5 percent of all sales taxes collected inside the city limits. The reimbursements run two months behind, so the January reimbursement was received in March.

The city’s 2-percent special tax to pay off the Sports Force Parks on the River sports complex is also improving. The city’s reimbursement from the state for January totaled $190,036.75; $29,893.93 cents of 18.67 percent more than the $160,142.82 received during the same period in 2019. As of March 15, the total tax received is $829,624.24 or $9,535.98 more than in 2019, and $120,790 more than the $708,833.66 for the same period in 2021.

The city receives the full amount of the special tax revenue minus an administrative fee charged by the state.

Gaming revenues are also up. As of March 10, according to the city, gaming revenues totaled $2,351,008.17, or $278,709.25 more than the $2,072,298.92 collected in 2021 and $344,947.99 more than the $2,006,060.18 collected on 2019.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he is not surprised by the local economy’s upswing, citing an extra element that’s helping financial growth.

“The federal government put several billion dollars in the state economy and when you look at the amount of money put in the economy, that’s what we’re reaping the benefits of now,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep it going and it can become sustainable. But this is post-COVID spending; spending of money that has been put in the economy whether it be ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) or rescue money, that’s what’s going on in the whole country.”

Flaggs said the state is experiencing revenue growth; “everybody is because the money is still in the economy. Hopefully, the gasoline prices won’t absorb it. We just need to keep the economy going and keep the pace now.”

Another contributor to the economy, he said, is residents are continuing to shop locally.

“People are staying close to home and shopping at home because of COVID and because of social distancing,” he said.

And Vicksburg, he said, is open for business.

“We did not shut down the city like other cities do,” he said. “We only mandated when we had to and as quick as we could. Our decisions we made around COVID were not as devastating as it was to other cities. I especially want to commend our city employees and our citizens for how they handled themselves pre-COVID, during COVID and post-COVID.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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