The office of the Texas comptroller released city-by-city numbers for March sales tax revenue May 6, and officials said the figures shown for Texas cities represent the last month before the effects are shown of what COVID-19 has done to municipal revenue.
Bee Cave City Manager Clint Garza said the real story of how the pandemic has affected revenue will present itself in sales tax revenue for April, which should be published in June.
“The numbers that I’d be interested in are going to be the ones that we see in June,” Garza said. “The month of April was a 90% reduction in contact with people.”
While social distancing efforts began in March, an official stay-at-home order occurred at the end of the month. Travis County implemented its initial shelter-in-place order March 25, closing a number of nonessential businesses.
Regarding the March figures from the comptroller, the city of Bee Cave saw a 5.05% decrease in sales tax revenue this March when compared to sales tax revenue from March 2019.
West Lake Hills experienced a more significant drop in sales tax revenue with a 16.4% decrease from March 2019. The city is home to multiple retail centers, such as the Village at Westlake and Westbank Market, both of which saw nonessential businesses close.
In contrast, the neighboring city of Rollingwood experienced a notable increase in March sales tax revenue of 21.38% from March 2019 to March 2020.
Rollingwood City Administrator Amber Lewis said the increase is most likely due to a jump in revenue brought about by record sales at Trader Joe's on Bee Caves Road.
“Sales have been comparable to or exceeding Thanksgiving sales,” Lewis said.