By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 EAST TEXAS – Area cities and counties will soon receive their January sales tax revenue disbursements from the state. “The cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio continue to see significant increases in sales tax allocations. The cities of Houston and Sugar Land saw noticeable decreases in sales tax allocations,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar stated in a press release dated Jan. 11.

Hegar will send local sales tax allocations for December in the amount of $647.4 million to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts. According to the comptroller’s office, the allocations are up 4.9 percent when compared to January of 2016.

As to how this affects 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 said.

Texas cities will receive $421.4 million, up 4.8 percent when compared to Jan. 2016. Texas counties can anticipate sales tax allocations of $38.5 million, three percent compared to last year’s numbers.

In addition, Hegar will send $41 million to 248 special purpose taxing districts, up 12.3 percent when compared to last year. The ten transit system authorities in Texas will receive $146.4 million in sales tax allocations, up 3.6 percent compared to a year ago.

The sales tax allocations referenced above represent “…sales made in November by businesses that report tax monthly,” according to the comptroller’s office.

At the local level, Houston County broke an eight month trend and showed an increase in allocations. The county has a tax rate of 0.50 percent and will receive $ 98,797.60 – up from $97,864.27 received for the same tax period last year – and indicative of a .95 percent upward move.

The incorporated cities of Houston County showed less than positive results with only one of the five showing an increase in the allocation of sales tax payments. The City of Crockett, which has a 1.5 percent tax rate, will receive $142,340.76 in sales tax allocations. This is down from $154,292.09 received for the same tax period last year and reflects a 7.74 percent decrease.

The City of Grapeland, which also has a 1.5 percent tax rate, will realize $13,124.09 in sales tax allocation payments. This is down from the $14,802.64 received for the same tax period last year and reflects a decline of 11.33 percent.

The City of Kennard, which has a 1.0 percent tax rate, will acquire $1,952.76 in disbursements. This is up from the $1,292.90 taken in during the same tax period last year and indicates a 51.03 percent increase.

The City of Latexo, which also has a 1.0 percent tax rate, will procure $1,280.75 in sales tax allocations. This represents a decrease from the $1,757.02 received for the same tax period last year and indicates a 27.1 percent decline.

The City of Lovelady, which has a 1.25 percent tax rate, will garner $4913.52 in sales tax allocations. This is less than the $5,962.51 accrued for the same tax period last year and reflects a decrease of 17.59 percent.

Anderson County, which has a 0.50 percent tax rate, will receive $190,083.91 in sales tax payments. This is an increase from $187,452.87 received for the same reporting period last year and indicates an incline of 1.4 percent.

The City of Elkhart, which has a 1.25 percent tax rate, will receive $16,680.81 in sales tax allocations. This is up from the $11,228.20 received for the same tax period last year and represents an increase of 48.56 percent.

The City of Palestine, which has a 1.50 percent tax rate, will receive $435,641.54 in sales tax allocations. This is down from the $439,156.90 received for the same tax period last year and reflects a decline of 0.8 percent.

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