Two-thirds of Wise County cities see uptick in 2012

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, December 15, 2012

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It’s easy to look on the gloomy side and report that four of Wise County’s 12 cities that collect a sales tax are in the red compared to last year.

But eight of the 12 will have a merry Christmas – especially Rhome, Bridgeport and Alvord, which all saw 2012 bring increases of more than 20 percent in sales tax revenue to their city coffers.

Newark and Runaway Bay had double-digit gains as well, each collecting 12 percent more than last year, while Aurora (up 6.1 percent) and Paradise (up 4.4 percent) also had nice gains. The county’s biggest market, Decatur, showed a gain of just 1.6 percent over last year – but a healthy 15 percent gain in December may bode well for a more impressive turnaround in 2013.

Altogether, the county’s 12 cities took in $762,556 in December. That’s up just over 9 percent from last December’s payment. During 2012, those same cities took in $8.8 million, up 7.6 percent from 2011’s $8.2 million.

All but Aurora levy a 1.5-cent sales tax that is added on top of the state’s sales tax. Aurora’s tax is 1 cent.

Comptroller Susan Combs sent out $552 million in monthly sales tax receipts to local governments in December. That money goes to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts. The December payment represents October sales reported by businesses that file their tax returns each month.

State sales tax revenue in November was $2.34 billion, up 13.1 percent compared to November 2011.

“Gains across major sectors boosted state sales tax revenue,” Combs said. “Collections were strong in sectors such as retail trade, manufacturing, oil and natural gas, construction and telecommunications.”

Wise County, which collects a half-cent sales tax, saw a 9.6 percent bump in its December payment, from $402,790 last year to $441,533 this year. For the year, the county has taken in $5.1 million from the sales tax, up 14 percent from last year’s $4.4 million. By law, that revenue is used to offset property tax increases.

Statewide for 2012, 1,144 cities took in $4.45 billion from the sales tax, up 8.2 percent from 2011.

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