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Longview officials report 15-month sales tax revenue increase

By Jimmy Isaac
Nov. 9, 2011 at 10 p.m.

Longview sales tax revenue for November represents the 15th consecutive month sales tax revenues for the city posted at least a 4 percent monthly increase over the prior year - although November's increase was not as high as in October.

The city collected $1.995 million this month, nearly 6 percent, or $112,500 more than November 2010, according to the Texas Comptroller's Office. The figure represents receipts from September sales in Longview.

Through the first two months of Fiscal Year 2012, the city has seen a 6.85 percent, or nearly $230,000 increase in sales tax revenue. November's numbers were not as strong as one month ago, when the city's revenue increased nearly 8 percent.

"The total broad dollars were about the same. It was a difference of $5,000," city spokesman Shawn Hara said.

It is good news for the city, because it budgeted for a 2 percent sales tax increase, he added.

"At the same time, this is only two months into our budget year, so you don't make changes (in budgeting policy)," Hara said. "You just continue to watch, but so far things are trending in a good direction.

The city will receive a $2.99 million November sales tax allocation, but nearly $1 million of that total is dedicated to Longview Economic Development Corp. and the city's drainage fund, Hara said.

State sales tax revenue increased for the 19th consecutive month, this time at 15.9 percent to $1.87 billion. Comptroller Susan Combs attributed to numbers to strong growth in the oil and natural gas industry.

Sales tax allocations to cities, counties and special districts increased 7.1 percent compared to November 2010.

Hallsville's sales tax numbers from the comtroller's office were not as they seemed, Mayor Jerri Medrano said.

The state reported a 37 percent decrease in Hallsville's rebate, but the statistic is more of an accounting figure rather than a true glance at the town's economy, she said.

Several months ago, the comptroller's office sent about $29,800 to Hallsville but later asked city officials to hold on to the check because of a possible mistake in state accounting, Medrano said.

The city placed the check into a separate bank account until given further notice from the comptroller's office, but it has had a negative impact on monthly sales tax numbers announced by the state. Hallsville has received a boost from another revenue source, Medrano said, as local property owners are paying their tax bills earlier than usual, which has helped the city's finances during what is traditionally a tight time in its fiscal year.

"Otherwise, it's booming over here. We've got several new businesses that are supposed to open at the first of January, so it's looking very promising," Medrano said.



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