McKinney’s Christmas activities boost sales tax revenue and help fund projects

This year, McKinney will mark its 39th annual Home for the Holiday Christmas celebration. The city expends time and effort to create community events around the holidays; however, it also receives an economic return on its investment.

Records from the state comptroller’s office show that in December 2017, McKinney’s sales tax allocation was more than $5.2 million. In December 2018, the city’s sales tax allocation swelled to more than $5.6 million.

“From a Downtown McKinney standpoint, Q4 is the most important time of the year,” said Amy Rosenthal, director of the McKinney Main Street Program, in an email.

Sales spike

From January to November 2018, McKinney received an average of $4.44 million in sales tax revenue per month, reports from the state comptroller’s office show. In December, however, that number jumped to $5.66 million, a difference of $1.22 million.

Cindy Schneible, president of the McKinney Community Development Corp., said this increase is partly because during the Christmas season, more people come to visit the city of McKinney.

“Events like Home for the Holidays and the Rotary Parade of Lights and other events that maybe individual merchants are holding around the holiday period really do attract people into McKinney,” she said.

Downtown McKinney visitors may be looking for gifts for their family and friends or may use the restaurants in McKinney as gathering places for celebrations, Rosenthal said.

“All activity contributes to [the] city of McKinney’s and our community’s economic well-being,” Rosenthal said.

While the city of McKinney does not track the number of daytime visitors it receives, Schneible said that through an outside consultant, the city can use cell phone analysis to track its visitors.

Cell phone analysis was used for the city’s Oktoberfest festival, she said, and the city estimates the numbers from that analysis were about 80% accurate.

“We account for kids and then people that may not have their cell phones on them,” Schneible said. “The number that they were able to document was 65,000 visitors to McKinney over that weekend.”

She said the city is expecting a similar amount of visitors for its Home for the Holidays event.

“This is the time of year that people want to spend time with family and friends, and downtown offers visitors a chance to discover one-of-a-kind gifts and enjoy delicious food,” Rosenthal said in her email. “Christmastime in Downtown McKinney is the best time of the year.”

Bonnie Howard owns Orisons Boutique in downtown McKinney, which has been in business for more than 25 years. Howard says McKinney’s downtown is always busy, but she notices a jump in business during the end of the year.

“It’s just super hustle-and-bustle during the second of the third quarter, into the whole fourth quarter,” she said. “It’s good.”

The power of sales tax revenue

This year, in concert with the timing of Small Business Saturday, an unofficial American shopping holiday focused on shopping at small businesses, and Home for the Holidays, the McKinney Community Economic Development Corp. has launched a campaign to help show the value of shopping in McKinney.

“We really want to find a way to better connect with McKinney residents and help them understand how local shopping and dining, in turn, creates revenue that’s being reinvested into the community for quality of life improvements,” Schneible said.

The McKinney Community Development Corp. is funded by a $0.005 sales tax, revenue from which is used for community projects, including entertainment venues, museums, parks and open-space improvements, hike and bike trails and affordable housing.

When people shop in McKinney, that money gets reinvested into the community, Schneible said.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot when you say ‘a half-cent,’ but if you look at our experience just over the past year, that translated into $14.5 million,” Schneible said. “And since 1996, when we were established, the board has approved more than $155 million in grant funds from that half-cent sales tax. And you see it. You see the impact of it all over McKinney when you look at the parks and you look at the Performing Arts Center—when you look at Chestnut Square and the improvements there.”

The amount of sales tax revenue McKinney receives has increased year over year from fiscal year 2018 to 2019, according to reports from the state comptroller’s office. Schneible said this is due in part to McKinney’s growth and expanded offerings, even beyond the city’s downtown area.

“Certainly, there are a lot of visitors that come and shop downtown and a lot of McKinney residents that come and shop downtown, but we’ve also been able to expand the offerings,” she said. “As McKinney grows, we’ve also been able to expand those options.”

Year over year, the McKinney Community Development Corp. has seen a total sales tax revenue increase of about 4.5% from the $0.005 sales tax, she said.

She added that it is important to support local businesses beyond just the holidays.

“Everybody understands why it’s important to support your local business, but I don’t know that they always make the connection that, ‘If I do that, then it also leads to ... I’m helping support; I’m participating in the creation of these community facilities, amenities and so on,’” Schneible said. “We’re hoping that’s what we’re able to achieve here.”
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the McKinney edition.


McKinney reported fewer new cases of COVID-19 week over week after seeing its highest number of new cases in one day Aug. 4. (Community Impact staff)
DATA: McKinney sees 151 new cases of COVID-19, 32 recoveries in the last week

As of Aug. 13, there were 407 active cases in the city of McKinney, with 1,312 confirmed cases in the city overall.

The aging room is being prepared for business at the new downtown butcher shop. (Courtesy Bar-Ranch Steak Co.)
Bar-Ranch Steak Co. preps for downtown Plano opening and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

This conceptual rendering shows what Cottonwood Park will look like once construction is complete. (Rendering courtesy city of McKinney)
Cottonwood Park redesign in McKinney to include interactive fountain, food truck parking

The $3.1 million Cottonwood Park redesign project is funded through parkland dedication fees as well as through the McKinney Community Development Corp.

City officials and members of the community gathered to cut the ribbon on the recently renovated Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
GALLERY: Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa unveils renovations

The event also kicked off the Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa Youth Center's first day of Social Distance Learning as well as a food and school supply drive for local nonprofits, which will continue through Aug. 16.

(Courtesy AMC Theatres)
AMC Theatres to reopen Aug. 20 with 15-cent tickets

AMC Theatres—which has multiple locations in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas—will begin reopening its movie screens Aug. 20.

This rendering shows what the SkyWay communications tower could look like at one of the proposed sites along Virginia Parkway. (Rendering courtesy city of McKinney)
SkyWay Towers files lawsuit against McKinney after rezoning denial

The lawsuit claims the city’s denial of an application to build the cell tower was based on reasons that were “not supported by substantial evidence.”

Signs in the window of the Stein Mart store in Frisco state it will be among the locations closing as part of the company's liquidation process. (Valerie Wigglesworth/Community Impact Newspaper)
Stein Mart Inc. files for bankruptcy, launches store closing process

Stein Mart Inc. has 281 stores in 30 states with locations in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Keller, Fort Worth and Flower Mound.

Eric Varney (top left) and Ana Arteaga (top center) are the team running Made of Sugar and Spice in downtown McKinney. (Courtesy Made of Sugar and Spice)
Made of Sugar and Spice in downtown McKinney changes owners, readies to launch new programs

The party and event venue offers a place for girls to celebrate their birthdays while making it easy for parents to plan.

According to the report, 380,174 total COVID-19 cases have been reported in children nationwide as of Aug. 6, which accounts for approximately 9.1% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
REPORT: COVID-19 cases in children increase by 90% nationwide in 1 month

As school district officials across the U.S. prepare for the start of the 2020-21 school year, 179,990 new COVID-19 cases were reported in children nationwide between July 9 and Aug. 6—an increase of 90%, according to a report compiled by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

The University of Texas will host football games at Darrell K. Royal Veterans Memorial Stadium this fall after an announcement from the Big 12 Conference on Aug. 12 that the fall sports season will continue. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Big Ten and PAC-12 cancel, Big 12 announces fall sports season will roll on

The conference football season will begin Sept. 26, and fan capacity in stadiums will be up to each of the 10 member universities, according to the Big 12.

In a record vote, commissioners unanimously voted in favor of proposing a no-new-revenue tax rate at an Aug. 11 workshop. (Screenshot via Collin County)
Collin County commissioners propose lower no-new-revenue tax rate for FY 2020-21

The proposed no-new-revenue tax rate is a nearly 1.4% decrease from the current tax rate.

McKinney P&Z commissioners are allowing for more shared parking in downtown McKinney and east of Hwy. 5. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
McKinney P&Z commissioners OK changes to shared parking in downtown, Hwy. 5 district

The McKinney Planning and Zoning Commission approved a change to parking requirements for businesses in the McKinney Town District, an area that includes downtown McKinney and east of Hwy. 5.