Sales tax down less than a percent for August, up for the year


As the 2017 fiscal year nears completion, the city of Tyler's sales tax income is relatively flat compared to the year before.

August allocations were down .41 percent from 2016, but sales tax is up 1.17 percent overall from 2016. There is one more month left in the fiscal year.

Chief Financial Officer Keidric Trimble said he's not concerned about the decrease for August, but city officials would be watching sales numbers closely as the year ends.

"We were hoping to see better numbers for the month of August; however, our budget correction plan that we put together is still on track," Trimble said. "We anticipate finishing the year within the limits of that budget correction plan."

The city relies more heavily on sales tax revenue than property taxes - with 42 percent of its 2017 budget coming from sales tax, compared to 27 percent coming from traditional property taxes.

Sales tax revenue has failed to meet projections for two years, causing rounds of cuts and continuous hiring freezes.

In February, the city asked department heads for a final round of cuts for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. That round of cuts was made to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

In the months since, no new cuts have been needed, and the City Council soon will approve a new budget, which begins Oct. 1.

The proposed 2018 budget reinstates a majority of those cut positions, but keeps 11 spots permanently frozen for the year. Another two positions were eliminated entirely.

If September collections come in above expectations, the revenue will be set aside, and could be used for one-time purchases through the year, Trimble said.




Sales Tax Collections, 2016-17 Comparison


Oct. 2016, -2.76 percent

Nov. 2016, -2.96 percent

Dec. 2016, -5.28 percent

Jan. 2017, +6.1 percent

Feb. 2017, -6.25 percent

March 2017, +24.98 percent*

April 2017, +1.68 percent

May 2017, -.87 percent

June 2017, +3.66 percent

July 2017, +7.51 percent

Aug. 2017, -.41 percent


*The numbers were high because March 2016 numbers were unexpectedly low when Tyler's general fund was hit by an audit adjustment that cost the city $422,000 in revenue. That adjustment could be for a number of reasons, including a company overpaying sales tax or paying it when they weren't legally required to.


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Faith Harper is an East Texas native working for her hometown newspaper. She specializes in digital content for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. In her spare time, she loves tacos, road trips and is currently learning to sail.