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Sales tax revenue down in Decatur, Bridgeport

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wise County is still having a good year for sales tax collections, with the county’s 12 cities showing a gain of 2.3 percent over last year.

But a few more months like May, and that picture could change.

Decatur and Bridgeport, which combined collect more than 80 percent of the sales tax in Wise County, both saw their revenues from that source drop in May compared to 2012.

Decatur’s was down just under 3 percent for the month, and the city remains 3.7 percent ahead of last year through five months.

In Bridgeport, the drop for May was 22 percent, and the city is now 5.7 percent off compared to last year. That’s nearly $78,000 less in the city’s bank account from the 1.5-cent sales tax than they saw in 2012.

A reduction in oil and gas drilling activity undoubtedly has a big impact.

Closer to the city, Rhome and New Fairview both saw big gains in May.

Rhome’s May check from the Comptroller’s office was $52,225 – compared to $29,576 last May. That 76-percent increase brought the year’s total to $180,205, 37 percent over last year.

In New Fairview, the May payment was $36,881 – 172 percent better than last year’s $13.566 for May.

Kevin Lyons, press secretary for the Comptroller’s office, said New Fairview just has several taxpayers reporting higher sales this year.

For the year so far, the small city has taken in $158,132, up 31.4 percent.

Boyd rounds out the county’s top five with a 1 percent gain for May. The city is up 13 percent so far for the year.

Dropping out of the top five is Chico, which was down 41 percent for May and is off 23.5 percent for the year so far.

Lyons said in Chico, several taxpayers are reporting decreased sales – but there is also one who took credits against previously reported amounts, impacting this year’s numbers.

Chico Mayor J.D. Clark said the loss of Chico Auto Parts, which burned last year and has not yet reopened, is a big factor, along with lower in oil and gas activity. He said the city cut its budget by 15 percent this year in anticipation of lower sales tax revenues.

Alvord was down 10 percent for the month but remains ahead for the year, and the rest of the county’s cities were up for May and are ahead from 14 to 51 percent so far in 2013.

The county, which collects a half-cent sales tax, saw its income drop 8.8 percent in May and is off just over 6 percent for the year so far. That’s $133,527 less to the county’s coffers than in 2012.

Comptroller Susan Combs said state sales tax revenue in April was $2.15 billion, up 3.9 percent compared to April 2012.

“Sales tax collections were up in a range of sectors from construction and manufacturing to restaurants,” Combs said. “As expected, the rate of growth in state sales tax revenue is moderating compared to double-digit growth rates we recently experienced.”

Combs sent cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose districts May allocations totaling $668.5 million, up 5.6 percent compared to May 2012.

The sales tax figures represent monthly sales made in March as well as January, February and March sales by businesses that report tax quarterly.

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