Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
Sales tax revenue increased in five of the seven incorporated cities in Orange County for a net gain of more than $16,000 compared to one year ago.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced state sales tax revenue in May was $2.26 billion, up 7.9 percent compared to May 2012. In Orange County, revenue was $688,842.53 in May, which was up 2.40 percent from May 2012.
“Growth in state sales tax revenue was led by collections from the information services and construction sectors,” Combs said. “Restaurants also showed notable growth, while oil and natural gas-related activity remains a major source of strength.”
Smaller communities such as Rose City and Pine Forest continue to lead the charge for growth in 2013.
Rose City, courtesy of the Greyhound bus line terminal now located in the city, had a sales tax increase of nearly 48 percent for the month of May. The city also remains 30.25 percent ahead of figures for the year-to-date.
Pine Forest showed a gain of 28.51 percent for the month of May, and it is 45.29 percent ahead of 2012 figures for the year-to-date.
The City of Vidor also remains ahead of pace for the month and the year-to-date. The addition of new businesses, two of which are restaurants which now serve alcohol courtesy of the November 2011 local option election, has helped keep revenue on the rise as it increased 6.29 percent, or nearly $10,000 for the month of May. For the year to date, the city is more than 5 percent ahead of 2012 figures.
“There is a lot of activity on the western side of Orange County, including growth on the Orange County side of the Port of Beaumont, new home construction, and a few new businesses,” said Bobby Fillyaw, director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation. “The addition of alcohol sales has contributed to the increase in Vidor, and the new bus terminal in Rose City, which is located at the truck stop, has greatly helped that community because many of those people on the buses go inside the store to buy a drink or snack or whatever.”
Bridge City and the City of Orange also showed an increase for the month of May.
Bridge City sales tax revenue increased by 6.76 percent in May, which was more than $6,200 compared to May 2012. The city is also 5.29 percent ahead for the year-to-date.
The City of Orange showed a slight gain of 1.58 percent in May and is 3.90 percent, or approximately $67,000, ahead of 2012 figures for the year-to-date.
“As people have a little bit more money, they feel more comfortable shopping for more things they want and need,” Fillyaw said. “They feel more comfortable to leave the local shopping area to travel to other places in Beaumont or Lake Charles too. You always see a shift in shopping habits with a change in consumer confidence.”
Pinehurst and West Orange both had decreases in revenue for the month of May.
The City of West Orange experienced a decrease of $6,700 in sales tax revenue for the month of May, or a decline of 8.64 percent. The city is currently 2.61 percent below 2012 figures for the year-to-date.
Pinehurst had a decrease of 5.53 percent for the month of May compared to 2012 and is approximately $13,000 behind 2012 figures for the year-to-date.