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Athens Tax Revenue Increased in Spite of Losing Stores

Photo Credit: Lee Becker

Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues increased 10.1 percent in Oconee County following the opening of a cluster of stores, including Marshalls, PetSmart and Gap, in Epps Bridge Centre in the third quarter of 2013.

But Clarke County also increased its revenue from its SPLOST tax during that same period even while it was losing stores to Epps Bridge Centre.

The Oconee County increase was a larger percentage but on a much larger base, and Clarke County actually experienced a considerably bigger increase in actual tax dollars.

Barrow County saw a decline in SPLOST revenue from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2013, but its growth rate in the first two quarters of 2014 exceeded the growth rate in Oconee County, even though Epps Bridge Centre continued to open stores in that period.

Clarke County experienced a larger growth rate in the first quarter of 2014 than did Oconee County, but Clarke County’s tax revenues decreased in the second quarter while both Oconee and Barrow counties experienced growth.

A comparison of the revenues realized by the three counties since the end of 2009 makes it clear that tax revenues are not simply a result of increased commercial development.

To continue reading, go to Oconee County Observations.