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Oxford sales tax numbers down 14 percent in April

The first full financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was known this week for the City of Oxford.

Mississippi’s Department of Revenue released the tax collections for April, and Oxford was down 14 percent from their March collection numbers and down 29 percent from April 2019.

Oxford collected $609,736.41 in sales tax in April, down from April 2019’s sales tax collection of $856,149.14. All restaurant dining rooms and bars were closed along with all non-essential businesses for the entire month of April, outside of curbside service or local delivery.

“That’s not quite as bad as we projected,” Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said of the numbers during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting. “It isn’t good, but it’s not as bad as we projected. We’ll just have to see moving forward if all the students come back in the fall, and we anticipate that they will, whether or not we have football season. Those kinds of things will determine what our budget looks like this coming year.”

Oxford stadium tax, or food and beverage tax, collection for April of this year was down nearly $150,000 from last year. Oxford took in $146,594 in April compared to the $310,491 collected in 2019.

The tourism tax was down nearly $30,000, with Oxford collecting $10,795 compared to the $41,290 collected last year.

The tax numbers are reported roughly two months behind. May’s numbers will be released next month. The U.S. Census Bureau said on Wednesday that overall national retail sales during May were up 17.7 percent seasonally adjusted from April but down 6.1 percent year-over-year. That follows a record-setting 14.7 percent month-over-month drop in April.