• July 29, 2014

Heights sales tax climbs; city revenue 2 percent ahead

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Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 4:30 am

Six months into the fiscal year, Harker Heights has shown growth in sales-tax allocations in a month-to-month comparison.

The city generated about $297,000 more from sales-tax revenue between October and March in 2014 fiscal year compared to the same months during the 2013 fiscal year, according to data from the state comptroller’s office.

Each month the city experienced a gain of more than $8,000 in sales tax revenue compared to the previous year. January and February resulted in almost $100,000 in gains.

Sam’s Club could be a cause for the increases, said Alberta Barrett, the city’s finance director.

“January, February and March have been in the double-digit (percentage increases),” Barrett said. “I don’t think Sam’s came on until the end of September, so it would have been the December and January time frame before we saw any sales tax from them.”

Allocations released in the month are based on sales two months prior.

Pluses for budget

Halfway through the fiscal year, the revenue source is 2 percent greater than budgeted, Barrett said.

“If that continues out to the end of the year, it would be added to our fund balance,” she said.

The city then would evaluate spending or saving the extra funds through the budget process, she said.

The city is doing its long-range planning for budgeting in the 2015 fiscal year, and in May and June, departmental spending will be discussed with each city division and the Harker Heights City Council, Barrett said.

Barrett didn’t know if the six-month trend will continue, she said. During previous years when large commercial developments opened in the city, Harker Heights experienced large gains in sales tax revenue before the funding flattened out as the developments became more stable.

“We try to be very realistic with the budget whether it is sales tax or any other item,” Barrett said, noting the city doesn’t budget large spikes in the tax. “We try to be really conservative.”

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