HAMMOND — October sales tax receipts shot up 9.68 percent over the city’s take in October 2010, Mayor Mayson Foster told the City Council on Tuesday.

“I am beyond excited,” Foster said, “the sales tax returns are most encouraging and indicate that we have a healthy economy.”

The sales tax is the city government’s major source of revenue, Foster said, and the latest gains put the city about $78,000 over budget at this point in the fiscal year.

The sales tax generated $16.6 million last year, and if trends set since January continue, that figure will be exceeded.

Since February, the sales tax totals for every month have been greater than those of the corresponding month from the previous year.

During October, Hammond earned $1.42 million in sales tax revenue, eclipsing the $1.3 million received during October 2010.

At the same meeting the council heard reports that included:

VILLAS OF HAMMOND: Developer Harvey Smith told the council that the Villas of Hammond senior active living facility was nearing completion and should be ready for tenants by early December.

Smith said that the 64-unit, four-story complex would be available to people 55 years of age and up.

He said that one- and two-bedroom units will be leased when the Villas opens, offering a movie theater, exercise center and other amenities such as individual unit balconies.

He said that a great deal of interest has been shown in the development.

The Villas of Hammond is located on Arnold’s Creek near the Hammond Square Mall.

BLIGHTED HOUSING: Bobby Mitchell, the city’s building director, reported that of five structures recently condemned, one already has been demolished.

The other four should be torn down within the next two weeks, he said, and action on 29 other structures on the potential condemnation list are pending.

He said that some of the buildings are being repaired by the owners and additional study is necessary on the remaining sites on the list.

Mitchell said the 188 total locations on his list are all in line to be dealt with.

As for blight caused by uncut yards and lots, Mitchell said that by ordinance, the city cannot order a property owner to cut grass until it reaches a height of 18 inches.