CTX cities recap windfall in December sales tax rebates

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 22:13:48-05

Many Central Texas cities got a big bonus last month from the state.

The thriving Texas economy prompted people to spend more and that boosted sales tax collections.

Some of that money comes back to the cities, and last month, most of them got a big, fat check.

The money came from people like Allie Flandermeyer, who used to live in Waco.

Now and then, she likes to come back to town and shop at her favorite home goods store "The Findery."

"It's really neat. I like that they have different things, the building's a little different. I like that it's not a cookie-cutter store," Flandermeyer said.

And with every purchase, she and everyone else pay 6.25 percent sales tax.

Last month, Waco city leaders got a little surprise from the state of Texas. Their portion of the sales tax that goes back to cities grew by 18 percent.

"Sales taxes are a great indicator of the success of our economy,” said Larry Holze, Waco's Municipal Information Director. 

City leaders say the booming Waco economy has people spending.

Not only Waco but Woodway as well, they got a 27 percent bump. Bellmead got more than 12 and Beverly Hills nearly nine percent more.  

Robinson's sales tax rebate money grew by almost eight percent, Lacy Lakeview got more than six percent more and Hewett got almost four percent more.

The Texas Comptroller sent out more than $760 million in sales tax rebates last month. That's an almost 10 percent increase over last year.

"[The extra cash] goes into our general fund and from there we do what the council has directed us to do when we established the budget,” Holze said. 

Waco leaders can spend that extra money any way they want.

They've already decided it will go to city streets, one of their most expensive, but important projects.

"They want at least $17 million of additional money to be used for street maintenance and repairs,” said Holze. 

Waco leaders will use their sales tax windfall to improve crumbling streets, fix potholes and make them more driveable.

Allie Flandermeyer says she can't find any fault in that.

"I think that that's great. I mean, from living here in the past, I think that is definitely something that needs to keep improving,” Flandermeyer said.

She says she's glad to know, that as Waco keeps booming, the city will use its sales tax bonuses to make the city and even better place to live.

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