Christmas bonuses are coming to many Longview-area cities this month in terms of sales tax disbursements from the state while others will experience “bah humbug.”
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reported Wednesday that area percentage changes would range from a 40.18% increase in Overton from a year ago while Kilgore’s disbursements fell by 25.44%. Several other jurisdictions will see more modest increases or declines based on sales tax that businesses reported in October.
Hegar said he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $820.5 million in local sales tax allocations for December, a 7.8% hike.
Overton Mayor C.R. Evans said he had not seen the report that showed his city’s disbursements increasing to $30,844 from $22,002 a year ago, and he expressed delight.
“Wow! That’s great,” Evans said. “Whenever we budget, we look at the whole previous year. Some months will be a little bit higher.”
In Kilgore, City Manager Josh Selleck said audit adjustments from Hegar’s office are responsible for disbursements dropping from $965,550 a year ago to $719,868.
“Last month, we were substantially down,” he said. “That was the result of several audit adjustments being removed from this year’s payment.”
That means the disbursement for December 2018 should have been about $90,000 lower, and the decline would have been 17% instead of 25.44%, Selleck said.
However, Selleck said, “What we know is, we are seeing a little bit of a slowdown in the oil and gas economy, so we are experiencing a little bit of a retraction in the sales tax revenues. We build our budgets knowing that the sales tax revenues fluctuate. We have a very sustainable budget methodology.”
Gilmer’s disbursements increased by 21.33% from $139,553 a year ago to $169,323 in December, and City Manager Greg Hutson said he sees it as a result of five stores and other businesses opening and generating sales taxes.
“Our sales taxes have been up in each of the past six years,” Hutson said. “So, as long as the economy is doing good, I think we stand to benefit.”
Longview also has experienced positive trends, city spokesman Shawn Hara said. The city’s disbursements grew by 5.54% from $2.65 million to about $2.8 million.
“This is the third month of our fiscal year,” Hara said. “So far, all three months have been positive.”
Hara said that 10 months during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 saw increases in sales tax disbursements when compared with the previous fiscal year. He added sales tax revenues account for one third of the city’s general fund.
Lakeport’s disbursements fell by 7.2%, from $17,568 to $16,301. Carol Sammons, president of the Lakeport Economic Development Corp. board, speculated revenues declined because an oilfield company from out of town has been exempted from paying sales taxes in Lakeport.