Although sales tax collections continue to increase in Columbia County, the rise in such figures might not be as high as recent returns suggest.
This past month, county finance officials received a sales tax check from the state for September for $1.7 million. At the time, Leanne DeLoach, the county's finance director, said the figure was a record high collection and she questioned whether the number was a true return for that month.
At a Tuesday county committee meeting, DeLoach told county commissioners she had learned the figure was likely skewed because of a new state online process through which companies can report their collections in a more timely manner.
"We were getting some advances,'' DeLoach said.
In the past, there has been about a three-month delay for the county to receive returns from the state for a given month.
Figures for September likely included some collections that should have been counted for another month, she said. The problem came to light as the most recent return figures for October were given to the county, showing a vast decline in collections from the previous month, from $1.7 million in September to about $800,000 for October.
Still, DeLoach told commissioners that despite the monthly figure discrepancy, the county continues to have an 18.3 percent increase in sales tax collections when comparing October 2005 to October 2006.
She told commissioners she hopes for better communication between the state and her office on such matters and that she would be closely monitoring future collection figures.
Columbia County school system officials on Tuesday reported similar issues with collection of the schools' 1-cent sales tax revenues.
In other county committee action, members agreed to change the starting time for full Board of Commissioner meetings, which occur every other Tuesday. The commission has started its full board meetings at 6:30 p.m. The recommendation was to have meetings begin at 6 p.m.
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