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Development Authority reports record breaking retail revenue in Dawson
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The Development Authority of Dawson County last week released numbers on tax revenue for the county for the month of May, and stated that May 2017 sales tax collections were the highest ever recorded for any month of May.

"May was an extremely good month for Dawson County businesses," said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the development authority, in a July 6 press release. "We hope it is a sign of the start of a very good summer."

According to Auvermann, sales tax revenue received during May was up over 11.5 percent versus May 2016. The combined tax revenue collection was almost $1.2 million for the month.

"Dawson County has become the main shopping destination for the northern GA 400 corridor," Auvermann said. "The result is an increase in sales tax revenue paid to the county, the school system and the city."

The release stated that total sales tax revenue (LOST, SPLOST and ELOST) is up 9% for 2017.

LOST stands for Local Option Sales Tax, SPLOST is the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and ELOST is the Education Local Option Sales Tax, which goes to the county school system.

"These are the critical sources of operating and construction revenue for our county," Auvermann said. "The higher these collections are, the less pressure there is on our elected officials to have to raise personal property taxes."

Auvermann also said that sales tax revenue is a fast source of funding for the county.

"There is only a few weeks delay in getting these funds from the state, [whereas] with property tax, the general collection timing is toward the end of each year," Auvermann said. "For example, a new family home built in January gets a free ride until the next December. Sales tax is due at the time of purchase and makes its way through the state system much faster."

The release states that Dawson County is at a 60/40 ratio for tax revenue, which is considered a very healthy situation. According to the Department of Community Affairs figures, approximately 60 percent of Dawson County taxes come from a combination of sales and service fee related activity.

Auvermann noted, "When you compare that to Pickens County, they are considered a property tax county. Dawson is considered an economically driven county. That gives our elected officials more options rather than just raising the taxes on everyone's homes."

A portion of these taxes are also provided to the City of Dawsonville under a contractual agreement.