By Will Johnson                                                                                                                                                                               Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – Area cities and counties will soon receive their August sales tax revenue disbursements from the state. In a press release dated Aug. 9, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar stated he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $779.2 million in local sales tax allocations for August, 1.3 percent more than in Aug. 2016.

As to what this means to area residents, Houston County Auditor Melissa Mosley previously provided an explanation of how the sales tax allocations affect property taxation in the county.

“Sales tax collections received by the County from the Comptroller are directly related to the ad valorem property tax reduction. When calculating the effective tax rate, the actual taxes collected – not budgeted – are reduced from the value, thereby reducing the tax rate. The county sales and use tax of 1/2 cent was put in place to lower the property tax. Whatever money we receive from sales tax is directly related to the amount of property tax rate reduction,” the auditor clarified.

“When anticipating revenues, the entire budget process is an educated guess. Houston County officials have historically been very conservative and realistic which has helped the county hold a recommended fund balance level, even while other entities were struggling and making cuts,” Mosley asserted.

Texas cities will receive $507 million, up 0.4 percent when compared to August 2016. Texas counties can anticipate sales tax allocations of $46.6 million, up 8.6 percent compared to last year’s numbers.

In addition, Hegar will send $51.7 million to 248 special purpose taxing districts, up 10.4 percent compared to last year. The ten transit system authorities in Texas will receive $173.9 million in sales tax allocations, down 0.3 percent compared to a year ago.

The sales tax allocations referenced above represent “… allocations based on sales made in June by businesses that report tax monthly, and sales made in April, May and June by quarterly filers.”

At the local level, after showing an increase last month, Houston County showed a decrease in allocations for the month of August.  The county has a tax rate of 0.50 percent and will receive $85,455.05 – down from $103,129.74 received for the same tax period last year, indicative of a 17.13 percent downward move. So far this year, Houston County has received $694,974.69 compared to last year’s total of $789,946.59 for a decrease of 12.02 percent.

The incorporated cities of Houston County showed mixed results with three of the five showing a decrease in the allocation of sales tax payments. The City of Crockett, which has a 1.5 percent tax rate, will receive $143,837.30 in sales tax allocations. This is down from $182,780.81 received for the same tax period last year and reflects a 21.31 percent decrease. Yearly total payments to date show Crockett has garnered $1,107,506.06 compared to last year’s total of $1,374,950.99 for a 19.45 percent decrease.

The City of Grapeland, which also has a 1.5 percent tax rate, will realize $38,535.90 in sales tax allocation payments. This is up from the $20,298.31 received for the same tax period last year and reflects an incline of 89.84 percent. Year to date figures are also indicative of an incline, going from $143,437.82 received last year at this time to $150,204.57 amassed so far this year, for a 4.71 percent increase.

The City of Kennard, which has a 1.0 percent tax rate, will acquire $1,965.72 in disbursements. This is down from the $2,256.12 taken in during the same tax period last year, indicating a 12.87 percent decrease. Year to date figures, however, are showing an upward trend from $15,020.92 collected last year at this time to $16,834.44 received so far this year. This signifies a 12.07 percent increase in sales tax payments.

The City of Latexo, which also has a 1.0 percent tax rate, will procure $1,978.66 in sales tax allocations. This represents an increase from the $1,779.50 received for the same tax period last year and indicates a 11.19 percent incline. Year-to-date figures are also showing an increase from $12,094.47 (2016) to $14,594.11 (2017), which marks a 20.66 percent increase in allocations.

The City of Lovelady, which has a 1.25 percent tax rate, will garner $ 4,940.21 in sales tax allocations. This is less than the $7,347.45 accrued for the same tax period last year and reflects a decrease of 32.76 percent. Year-to-date figures are also showing a decrease going from $54,364.24 to $40,207.33.  This represents a regression of 26.04 percent.

Anderson County, which has a 0.50 percent tax rate, will receive $201,118.92 in sales tax payments. This is a decrease from $260,076.96 received for the same reporting period last year and indicates a decline of 22.66 percent. Year to date numbers are also showing a slight downward move going from $1,735,150.04 received last year at this time to $1,677,051.54 received so far this year. The decreased allocation represents a shrinkage of 3.34 percent.

The City of Elkhart, which has a 1.25 percent tax rate, will receive $14,221.73 in sales tax allocations. This is down from the $15,400.21 received for the same tax period last year and represents a decrease of 7.65 percent. Year to date figures are also showing a decrease from $111,530.19 (2016) to $105,211.95 (2017), reflective of a 5.66 percent fall in tax allocation payments.

The City of Palestine, which has a 1.50 percent tax rate, will receive $497,561.50 in sales tax allocations. This is down from the $648,752.91 received for the same tax period last year and reflects a decline of 23.3 percent. Year-to-date figures are also showing a decrease from a total of $4,137,825.14 received last year at this time to $3,874,017.40 received so far this year, representative of a 6.37 percent drop.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.