2008-09-23 / Front Page

Rebates show mixed results

By GAIL LOWE Staff Writer

GRAPHIC BY BRENDA SMITH Although the city of Lampasas showed virtually no change in its September 2008 sales tax rebate compared to that of September 2007, Kempner more than doubled its payment for the month while Lometa and Evant posted large decreases. September sales tax allocations to local entities brought mixed results to area cities.

While Kempner continued its impressive string of triple-digit gains, the city of Lampasas barely posted an increase and Lometa had a double-digit decline.

As it has every month this year, Kempner recorded the highest percentage increase of any city in the surrounding six-county area. Its sales tax rebate of $14,774 represents a gain of 126 percent over the $6,533 it collected in September 2007, and leaves Kempner with a nine-month total of $87,148. The sales tax accumulation for 2008 thus far is 133 percent above that of last year.

For the city of Lampasas, this month's sales tax receipts were just $160 more than it received for September 2007 -- or an increase of only 0.14 percent. Year-to-date revenues remain ahead of last year by almost 4 percent at $940,252.

And after gains of 54 percent and 10 percent in July and August, respectively, Lometa's sales tax payment dropped significantly this period. Its check for $3,181 was 24 percent less than the $4,206 garnered last year in September. Lometa's 2008 cumulative rebates remain 3 percent above those of 2007, however.

September payments include local sales taxes collected in July and reported in August to the state comptroller.

Lampasas County continues to maintain strong sales tax figures. Its half-percent levy amounted to $51,591 this month for an increase of 10 percent. On the year, it holds sales receipts of $431,767 -- up 16 percent over 2007 to date.

Across the state, the September allocation to cities that collect a local sales tax showed an average jump of 9 percent compared to last year. Copperas Cove, Hamilton and San Saba had gains this period that outdistanced that average, whereas Burnet and Evant joined Lometa in posting a decline for the month.

Through the first nine months of 2008, all cities in the neighboring counties reflect sales tax gains over the previous year.

Although Burnet posted its second 4 percent decline in recent months -- it also dipped 4 percent in July -- the city holds a 7 percent edge over 2007 revenues to date at $1.2 million.

Marble Falls has collected $4.78 million in sales taxes this year, up approximately $70,000 or 2 percent over 2007. Its September rebate reflected an increase of 3 percent.

In Coryell County, both Gatesville and Copperas Cove show economic growth over last year. Gatesville has a nine-month total of $1.2 million or 6 percent above the 2007 accumulations; Copperas Cove is up 10 percent for 2008 with almost $2.66 million in sales taxes.

While Evant dropped 24 percent in September, the city of Hamilton recorded a 14 percent gain. Both, however, hold 16 percent gains for the year. Through three quarters of 2008, the sales tax total for Evant stands at $15,314, while Hamilton has collected $333,043 this year.

Goldthwaite posted a modest 4 percent increase this period with its check for $22,523. On the year, it has received sales taxes that total $201,688 -- up 5 percent over 2007.

And in San Saba, where the city had a September gain of 14 percent, year-to-date sales tax receipts are up almost 10 percent at $245,470.

When the state's 2008 fiscal year ended Aug. 31, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that sales tax collections were 6.6 percent higher than in fiscalyear 2007.

"Although this was not the double-digit increase seen in 2006 and 2007, growth in state sales tax collections during fiscal 2008 continued at a steady pace," she said of Texas' economic activity.

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