City retail sales rebound with double-digit gains in October

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Dec. 13, 2007 - Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County rebounded from a four-month retail sales slump in October, posting double-digit gains in sales tax collections for the first time since February.

The state comptroller's office returned $328,172 in sales tax rebates to the city of Sulphur Springs this month, an 11.7 percent increase compared to December of 2006. The numbers helped push the 2007 total to $4.171 million, up 1.15 from 2006. This month's rebate was just the second time this year the sales tax allocations have risen by more than 10 percent. The other came in February when the total improved 10.3 percent.

Sales tax allocations returned to Texas cities this month represent October sales reported to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in November by monthly tax filers.

Sulphur Springs receives a 1.5 percent sales levy on all taxable goods sold in the city. This month's sales tax check reflects sales of about $21.9 million worth of taxable goods. 

The increase in sales tax dollars reverses a four-month slide. It's the first time since June that the monthly rebate was higher than the previous year's allocation, and the collections have declined from 2006 in six different months this year. It's also the first time since January 

It wasn't necessarily bad news — the city has been the beneficiary of many months of sales tax increases in recent years, so the slow down wasn't an indicator of a big fall-off in economic activity.

The Hopkins County government treasury also saw it's biggest jump in sales tax rebates this year. The $135,512 check received this month reflects an 18.39 percent increase from December of 2006. For the year, the county, which collects a 0.5 percent sales tax, has received $1.589 million, up 3.71 percent from last year.

The cities of Cumby and Como also saw gains. Cumby's $10,113 sales tax rebate was up 6.96 percent from last December. The 12-month total of $130,902 was also a 3.98 increase over 2006. The town's year-long total has increased more than five-fold since voters approved a local option allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages in 2003. That year, sales tax collections totaled just under $24,000.

Como's $2,940 rebate in December was up 80.26 percent from one year ago. It was only the third time in 2007 monthly rebates have risen from the previous year, and the yearlong total of $18,706 is down 15.14 percent from 2006.

Sulphur Springs' 11.7 percent sales tax increase led all larger municipalities in the region this month.

Winnsboro was closest with a $60,364 check reflecting a 10.88 percent improvement, followed by Mount Pleasant, where the $361531 rebate was an 8.55 percent rise.

Yantis recorded an 8.68 percent gain at $2,087, and Commerce recorded a 6.86 percent rise with $95,834 in collections. to the north, the city of Paris received a rebate of $518,051, a slim 0.69 percent uptick.

Greenville's $401,781 rebate was a 2.48 percent downturn, while Emory was down 2.63 percent at $59,535 and Mount Vernon declined 0.19 percent to $36,153. Cooper recorded the biggest decline, with a $4,749 check reflecting a 29.2 percent decrease.

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