News 12 at 6 o'clock, October 10, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---There is some local good news in the midst of all the economic mess. Augusta is leading all other major cities in Georgia when it comes to hotel revenue.
Hotel tax and sales tax revenue is up when most across the nation are talking about a recession.
"Well the economy might be in a recession," said Tabatha Holley. "But Augusta isn't."
Tabatha's making her first trip to the Augusta for the state NAACP conference.
She says prices are lower this year. Last year the conference was in Atlanta.
"It's a lot less traffic," said Tabatha. "I thank God for that."
The city of Augusta is counting it's blessings too. Convention visitor's like Tabatha, and out of town construction workers have helped drive hotel revenue up 7 percent. Sales tax collections are up almost 2 percent. The money is expected to fuel new projects like the Judicial Center and TEE Center
"That is fantastic, and I hope that it continues for the next 10 or 12 months," said Senator Tarver. "Only time will tell."
Senator Ed Tarver warns state revenue is down. So what does he think about the local increase?
"It's kinda like saying I'm the tallest of the seven dwarfs," said Senator Tarver. "No one nationally is doing very well."
"I think we need to consider ourselves fortunate and blessed," said Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver.
"Be encouraged," said Copenhaver. "I wouldn't encourage anybody to go out and overspend at this point, but just know that your local economy is on solid ground."
In Fulton County sales tax numbers are down more than $2.6 million. In Gwinnet County there was an even bigger drop of more than $6.7 million. There was an increase of almost $850,000 in Richmond County.