City of Laurel hopes to beat sales tax record

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) – The tourist economy in the Town of Laurel is booming and sales tax is a big part of it.

As fiscal 2021 draws to a close, the Town of Laurel is on the verge of surpassing its sales tax record.

“We hope to be able to make at least $ 10 million for sales tax, which will be a record in the town of Laurel,” said Johnny Magee, mayor of Laurel.

The city broke its own monthly sales tax record in May. He brought in over $ 970,000 in sales taxes that month alone.

As Magee explains, this income helps the citizens of Laurel.

“The sales tax goes into what’s called the general fund,” Magee said. “The general fund finances the police, the fire brigade, it cleans the streets, it takes care of the sidewalks …”

The downtown area is a major factor in the sales tax increase.

“If you came downtown about five years ago, the difference that is the hustle and bustle of Saturday is so different from what it used to be,” said Susan Ladd, general manager of Laurel Main Street. “And so, more people see the value of coming downtown and how they can start their own business.”

Organizations like Laurel Main Street strive to attract people to the city.

“Our goal for Main Street is to create a Laurel footprint worth visiting,” Ladd said. “So we want to help the businesses that come to town have a community to build around to help them support them. “

It does this through events like Wine Down Downtown, which takes place six times a year. On September 17, locals and tourists alike will come downtown from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to shop while sipping wine.

“Super easy. Come thirsty, pay (and) go. Ladd said. “So all you have to do is $ 15 for a ticket and that’s unlimited sampling for all wines.”

This year, 20 companies are participating. One of them is Sullivan and son. It’s a general store that sells things like candy bars.

“Our house specialty is actually the fruit cobbler, so we always have a special cobbler that we serve with ice cream,” said Emily Sullivan, owner of Sullivan & Sons.

Sullivan says Wine Down Downtown brings great visibility to downtown businesses.

“It really attracted a lot of locals, which makes us excited because I feel like I’m in Laurel and even Mississippi. We’re looking for things to do, ”Sullivan said. “And so, these activities where we can all get together downtown, we were really happy to see the locals come and participate.”

Wine Down Downtown will take place again on October 15 and November 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

There are two check-in tents, one on the corner of Central Avenue and N Magnolia Street, and the other in the yard next to Laurel Mercantile, Co. on Front Street. For a link to the tickets, click on here.

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