For June, Keller reported $1.2 million in sales tax revenue, up from $1 million in 2020. This latest number also surpasses revenue from 2018 and 2019: $895,000 was collected in 2018 and $876,000 in 2019.
The numbers for May were even more stark: Keller was allocated more than $1.4 million in 2021 by the Texas comptroller of public accounts, almost $400,000 more than the same period over the last three years.
“When we see big spikes like this, big increases, it's just a question of, ‘How sustainable is that?’” Keller Finance Director Aaron Rector said.
Rector said the city recognizes that this spike is likely to taper off in the future.
“We want to treat this growth as sustainable, and what we're seeing ... I don't think it's actually sustainable, but it’s creating a new base, which is a very positive thing,” he said.
Rector attributed the sales tax success to the growth of online sales and home improvement projects that began last year, and he said that restaurants are now bouncing back.
“It looks like the restaurants have generally come back from this time last year,” he said. “Their numbers are kind of matching to this time in 2019, which would have been a time when they were fully open. So it's good to see them getting back to that activity.”
According to the office of the Texas comptroller of public accounts, this trend toward growth has been seen across the state. On June 9, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced $907.6 million in monthly sales tax revenue was distributed to local governments. This is a 31.5% increase from June 2020.
Because sales tax allocations distributed in June are based on sales made in April, the numbers from June 2020 reflect sales during the first full month of COVID-19 restrictions in the United States. That month, the comptroller’s office distributed $690.4 million statewide, which the office said in a press release represented the steepest year-over-year decline since September 2009.
Rector said Keller’s sales tax growth will help the city deliver on one of its goals: providing property tax relief for citizens.
“When we’re planning out the 2022 budget, the growth in sales tax helped us kind of minimize and hopefully provide some relief to the citizens on property tax,” he said.