The city of Waco suffered a rare year-over-year drop this week in the sales tax rebate it received from the Texas Comptroller’s Office, but payments remain more than $700,000 above budget estimates for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, according to a city spokeswoman.
Waco got a $3.6 million rebate this month, down from $3.7 million last November. Rebates received in November reflect sales in September that are reported to the Comptroller’s Office in October.
Still, for the first two months of the fiscal year, Waco has received rebates totaling $6.8 million. That compares to an estimate of $6.07 million by city budget officer Laura Chiota, who said her office takes a conservative approach to forecasting revenue.
“I’m not alarmed at this point,” Chiota said. “If this were to continue for three or four months, I might have some concern, but we are only two months into the fiscal year and we are ahead of estimates.”
April was the last time the city got a sales tax rebate smaller than the same month the year before.
Elsewhere in McLennan County, the city of Hewitt continues to bring in more tax revenue since the opening of a Walmart at Interstate 35 and Sun Valley Boulevard. The monthly boost in tax revenue has not come close to the $50,000 to $100,000 boost city leaders projected ahead of the store’s opening.
Hewitt’s November rebate of $224,121 was 15.2 percent more than the $194,539 check it received in November 2016.
The city of McGregor saw a 24 percent year-over-year increase in its rebate, which jumped from $109,658 to $135,996. The cities of Beverly Hills, Bellmead, Crawford, Lacy Lakeview and Woodway all received larger rebates, while the communities of Robinson, Lorena and West all saw their rebates fall.
The roughly $58,000 decline in Waco’s rebate from last November does not mean spending has turned sluggish, said Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.
There were five Saturdays in September 2016, compared to four this September, which could contribute to the decline, Collins said.
For the calendar year, Waco has gotten rebates totaling almost $35.4 million, 2.2 percent more than the $34.6 million it got through November of last year, according to the Comptroller’s Office.
Statewide, the Comptroller’s Office sent rebates totaling $774.9 million to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, a 5 percent increase from November 2016.