Paul Hackbarth

Staff Writer

Sales tax collections in Phelps County took a dip last month compared to September 2011.

Phelps County Treasurer Carol Green presented updated sales tax figures to the Phelps County Commissioners Thursday morning.

Sales tax collections were down by 3.07 percent in September of this year compared to September 2011.

This year so far, county sales tax collections are up by 1.41 percent. Based on the last 12 months from September 2012, collections are up by 1.85 percent.

After a 28.77 percent plunge in January, collections went up 49.9 percent in February compared to the first two months in 2011.

In March of this year, collections were up by 2.52 percent but decreased by 32.89 percent in April compared to collections in the same two months in 2011. In May, collections bounced back up by 22.31 percent compared to May of 2011.

June 2012 showed a 12.4 percent decrease in collections compared to June 2011 and July of this year reported a 2.4 percent decrease compared to July 2011. Collections were up 4.71 percent in August 2012 compared to August 2011.

Prioritize state projects

The county commission also prioritized its top three state highway projects for the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s meeting Thursday evening.

At the commission’s Sept. 4 meeting, they met with Preston Kramer, Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer for the central district, and Bonnie Prigge, executive director of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission, to update MRPC’s list of transportation needs for Phelps County from December 2011.

Based on the updated list from the Sept. 4 meeting, the commission on Thursday named three projects as priorities — creating a bypass around Highway 63 in Rolla, considering additional lanes or relieving congestion on U.S. Highway 63 from University Drive to Interstate 44 in Rolla and developing continuous outer roads on both the north and south sides of I-44 throughout the county, including a complete connection from the Route V outer road to Highway 63.

During a meeting with the MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee Aug. 9, Kramer said, “One, an outer roadway is where economic development takes place. And, two, whenever there are accidents on the interstate, if you have an outer roadway, that is where you can put traffic, and traffic keeps moving.”