The city of Waco continues to roll winning numbers when it comes to sales tax rebates from the State Comptroller’s Office.

It received notice of a $2.65 million check this week, 13 percent more than the $2.34 million it pocketed the same month a year ago.

“It’s pretty amazing,” city budget officer June Skerik said. “When you think it can’t get any better, it does.”

For the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, Waco is running $2.7 million ahead of budget projections for sales tax rebates.

Rebates in June reflect April sales reported to State Comptroller Susan Combs in May.

Combs said payments to the state in May totaled $2.45 billion, up 8.5 percent from a year earlier.

“Sales tax growth was evident across all major economic sectors,” Combs said. “The growth was led by the retail and wholesale trade sectors, the oil and natural gas mining sector, and the services sector. This marks the 50th consecutive month of increased state sales tax revenues and brings the fiscal year-to-date growth to 5.4 percent.”

A report by Amarillo-based economist Karr Ingham showed that inflation-adjusted consumer spending locally hit $168 million in April, a 2.9 percent increase over sales tax receipts in April 2013.

In addition, April automobile sales rose by 10.8 percent compared to the previous April.

“Our sales taxes have exceeded our revenue projections for the last three years, every month. It’s been phenomenal,” Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. said.

Area officials, including Skerik, have credited the improving employment picture with fueling demand for goods and services.

Communities all over McLennan County received impressive rebates this week, with the combined total reaching $3.6 million, up from $3.2 million in June last year.

Shoppers locally and regionally will have the opportunity to spend more at Waco-area locations in the near future, continuing to bolster sales tax revenues.

Dallas-based Leon Capital Group is converting the former University High School campus at Valley Mills Drive and Bagby Avenue into a mixed-use center. It already has landed a commitment from Gander Mountain to place a 51,896-square-foot store there to sell outdoors equipment and apparel.

Austin-based SCC Development is marketing the former Richard Karr Motors site at Lake Air and Valley Mills drives.

A preliminary plan, which appears on the SCC website, shows space allocated for a Sprint store and an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, as well as another 16,000 square feet of retail on two sites and 7,000 square feet of restaurant space.

Dallas-based Emerald Waco Investments has nearly finished grading a 30-acre site at Bagby Avenue near Central Texas Marketplace, where it will place residences to accommodate assisted living, independent living and residents who need skilled nursing.

Spokesman Mark Matisse said in a phone interview that at least 7 acres will be made available to a limited partnership for retail development “that I would say would complement the existing uses very nicely.”

Baylor University has nearly completed its $260 million McLane Stadium football complex on Lake Brazos, and developers envision $180 million in riverfront upgrades.

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