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December 26--  Sales tax collections in Vidalia are running behind last year and that's got city officials hoping for an economic turnaround in 2012.  The lag is also an indicator that people are spending less in local stores.

City Clerk Bill Bedingfield reports sales tax collections through November are down almost two percent.

"When you're down you've really got to watch your expenses and that's all there is to it.  When we factor the revenues for 2012, we take that we are down into account and we don't budget a higher number for local option sales tax so we have to do what we can on the expense side to make it balance.  This is probably one of the tightest budget we've ever had with only an $11,000 contingency," he says.

So far this year, the city has collected just over $1.7 million in local option sales taxes.

"We're hoping that the Christmas season will be good and give us a year-end boost in collections.  We're excited about that and that 2012 will exceed the amount we have budgeted.  That's certainly something we're hoping for," he notes.