Meridian Faces Declining Revenues

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry announced Thursday that finances are down significantly from last year. In September, sales tax collections dropped almost $100,000 from September 2008.

For the fiscal year, the city is down almost $200,000. Barry announced that dip in sales tax at the city council work session.

The city is planning to tighten belts and encouraging people to shop locally.
While some businesses in Meridian have closed recently, more have been opening up across the city.

"Hopefully we'll be on the rebound in 12 months, but right now as a city we are watching every dollar that comes in and every dollar that goes out," Barry said.

That sales tax revenue comes from spending, but for it to help, you have to do that spending in the city of Meridian.

"The economy is down. There's no money even though we see new businesses opening," said Barry. "People are being very cautious as to how they're spending their earnings."

The six percent dip runs a dollar amount of about $65,000. Mayor Barry says that while things seem to have leveled off for now, some improvements are possible as the holiday shopping season gets underway.

"I think we'll have a good holiday season. I hope that we can compare it to last year, and I hope our sales will be up," she said.

In the stores, we are told business seems to be unsteady and comes in waves of noticeable ups and downs.

Barry says the best thing we can all do to help the local economy is spend.

"People need to start shopping in Meridian," Barry said, "They need to stay off the Internet and put their dollars back into the city of Meridian. Stay in Meridian. Don't go to Jackson or Tuscaloosa or Birmingham. We need the tax dollars. We need people here shopping."

The city of Meridian is not unusual in its declining revenues for September:

DeKalb $2,424

Newton $12,340

Philadelphia $22,546

Quitman $3,075

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