Could the tide of recession be turning for Coweta County? An indication of just that possibility can be found in the Coweta County School System’s 1-cent sales tax (E-SPLOST) revenues that have experienced an increase of more than 7 percent in the past year.
A report from the Sept. 11 meeting of the Coweta County Board of Education showed that revenues from the past 12 months totaled $20,610,299. That figure represents a $1,421,772 increase, or 7.41 percent, from the previous one-year period. The relevance of the increase can be easily seen when compared to revenues from the past five reporting periods.
Total sales tax revenues were at their highest during the September 2007 – August 2008 period when $21.05 million was collected. Those collections dropped by 3.38 percent the following year to $20.34 million and dropped again the next year to $19.15 million, a decrease of 5.85 percent. Things changed just slightly during the 2010-2011 period when sales tax revenues crept up by .19 percent to $19.19 million. But the big change occurred between September 2011 and August 2012 when collections jumped 7.41 percent.
As much as anything it is Coweta’s proximity to Hartsfield Airport and Atlanta and its location along Interstate 85 that makes it a draw for retail and industrial businesses. An example of the commerce, and resulting sales tax revenues, that comes Coweta’s way can be seen in a June 2011 survey conducted by The Citizen. Of the 433 vehicles surveyed at Ashley Park on June 25 it turns out that 255, or approximately 59 percent, were registered in Coweta with the remaining 41 percent registered in 25 other counties in Georgia. That translates into a lot of out-of-county shoppers adding to Coweta’s sales tax coffers and contributing to the county’s economy.
While unemployment still hovers around 9 percent and even though the tax digest – the combined value of all real and personal property in the county – decreased slightly last year, Coweta is experiencing fewer business starts than many of its neighbors.
An easy example of that reality is in the healthcare field, with the recent opening of the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital, a wealth of new medical offices and the opening of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital at Ashley Park.
And in a significant economic development indicator not related to healthcare, the Don Jackson new car dealership is currently under construction on Ga. Highway 34 across from the Summit YMCA.