Middleton: ‘Can’t say enough’ about robust local economy

Steve Nash steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Sales tax allocations

Three of Brown County’s four municipalities saw increases in their April sales tax allocations from last April, and even in the lone city with a decrease — Early — the city administrator there didn’t see it as bad news.

In Brownwood, there was “more good news for April,” Finance Director Walter Middleton said via email, reacting to Brownwood’s 5 percent increase over April 2014.

April allocations represent February sales.

“Every month of this fiscal year has shown an increase,” Middleton said. “Two of these months were double digit increases. I just can’t say enough about how robustly our local economy is performing and I certainly hope it continues.”

Brownwood received an allocation of $490,654 for its April allocation, compared with $467,224 in April 2014.

The April allocation includes a “very significant audit collection” totaling $22,860 this month,” Middleton said. “The comptroller’s office will not release the identities of individual businesses which are assessed these audit amounts. So, there’s really not any way to determine why something like this is paid and it is always a little bit of a surprise when this comes through.”

When adjusted for the audit collection and other issues, the actual number is a 3.6 percent increase, Middleton said — “still a very healthy increase.”

Year-to-date, Brownwood’s allocations total $2.2 million, a 9 percent increase over last year’s allocations of just over $2 million.

Early’s allocation of $76,922 reflected a 14.7 percent reduction from last April’s $90,164.

"After last month’s 157% increase, surely a 14 percent reduction in sales taxes this month is not such a bad thing,” City Administrator Tony Aaron said. “Actually, we had a unusually high increase in April of 2014 over 2013 so this month’s decrease is still above 2013.  Additionally, our five-year average for April is $75,507 and this month’s allocation is above that by over $1,000.”

Year-to-date, Early’s allocations total $490,094, a 32.7 percent increase over last year’s $369,404.

Bangs’ April allocation of $9,133 reflected a 6.1 percent increase over last April’s $8,607. Year-to-date, Bangs’ allocations total $46,368, a 13.4 percent increase over last year’s $40,890.

In Blanket, the April allocation of $1,887 rose 33.9 percent from last April’s $1,409. Year-to-date, Blanket’s allocations total $8,188, an 8 percent reduction from last year’s $8,907.

Allocations for all four Brown County municipalities totaled $578,598, a 2 percent increase over last April’s $567,406. Year-to-date, allocations total $2.8 million, a 12.5 percent increase over last year’s $2.5 million.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said state sales tax revenue in March — also a reflection of February sales — was $2.12 billion, up 1.5 percent compared to March 2014.

"State sales tax collections have now grown for 60 consecutive months despite weakening in the energy sector. This moderated growth was expected and is currently in line with estimates presented in January," Hegar said. "Receipts in the construction, services and restaurant sectors remained relatively strong. We will continue to monitor the state’s economic activity and its impact on key revenue sources.”

Hegar sent cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts their April local sales tax allocations totaling $576.6 million, up 4 percent compared to April 2014.