Batesville Retail

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Heads turn at retail activity in little Batesville

By Rupert Howell

Although the City of Batesville ranks 45th largest in population, it ranks 35th highest in sales tax collections often collecting as much as other north Mississippi towns with two or three times more population.

These figures were brought to light as Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey was “wooing” a potential business whose representative questioned population figures last week.

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Both Autrey and Panola Partnership Executive Director Sonny Simmons said the sales tax figures and highway traffic count are important in recruiting retail businesses.

Simmons said 2005 traffic count figures on Highway 6 between I-55 and Highway 51 averaged 29,000 a day.

“Man, that’s mind-boggling to some. Retailers like to see those figures,” Simmons said.

He noted that those types of figures were used to recruit Tractor Supply Company, figures that they didn’t have according to Simmons who noted that often potential developers or businesses have only census figures.

The local Tractor Supply Store now often leads their region in sales according to store manager A.R. Robinson.

Records indicate that the City of Batesville received $3,748,554 during the state’s most recent fiscal year for sales taxes collected in and diverted back to the municipality. That figure represents approximately 18 percent of the seven percent sales tax collected through retail purchases within the city limits.

Census figures estimate Batesville to have a population of approximately 7,700 and when compared to comparable size municipalities, Batesville’s numbers stand out.

The City of Clarksdale, whose population is estimated to be 18,300, received $3,748,554 during the same period. Grenada’s population is estimated at 14,680, almost twice the population of Batesville, and it received $3,941,591 during the same period.

The town of Kosciusko has approximately the same population as Batesville with an estimated 7,363 inhabitants. Their sales tax payments for the state’s fiscal year totaled $1,983,477, or roughly half the amount received by the City of Batesville.