Killeen’s sales tax revenue is about $240,000 behind the last fiscal year, as each month’s allocations dipped slightly below 2013’s pace.
“There are lot of factors that play into retail sales,” said John Crutchfield, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce president. “If you see sustained declines over time then you need to re-examine your strategy.”
Sales tax revenue declined in a month-to-month comparison since August, according to data from the state comptroller’s office.
But since the loss is less than 1 percent compared to last year, there isn’t much cause for concern, Crutchfield said.
January and February allocations, which represent sales in November and December, resulted in the largest declines — 8.32 percent and 3.21 percent, respectively.
Crutchfield could not cite a specific reason why sales tax revenue declined but said contributing factors could be highway construction and shrinking frontage along U.S. Highway 190.
There is a lack of property to develop on U.S. 190, which results in less commercial growth for the area, Crutchfield said. And that can contribute to a flat sales tax revenue generation.
The city and the chamber are working on developments for other major thoroughfares, such as Stan Schlueter Loop, Clear Creek and State Highway 195, he said.
Those locations have been difficult to fill in the past, but there have been promising developments, including a new Walmart, which will anchor a shopping center at Bunny Trail and Stan Schlueter Loop.
Once a first major retailer moves off U.S. 190, more will follow, Crutchfield said.
“This community is positioned very well for continued growth in retail and commercial ventures,” Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison said in an email. “We are seeing new businesses locate in our downtown and others developing along U.S. 190. We are also very encouraged by the amount of development traffic in our southern corridor and expect to see that portion of our community transform over the next few years.”
As Texas A&M University-Central Texas and those retail sites on other locations develop, sales tax revenue should increase, Crutchfield said.
While the city continues to monitor sales tax revenue, Morrison said there’s no impact on city services, though he encourages residents to shop in Killeen.
“We take a conservative approach to budgeting,” Morrison said. “This approach allows us to manage both increases and decreases in revenue without impacting services.”
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