Sales tax collections grow in Cy-Fair; next month's numbers expected to paint a clearer picture

The city of Jersey Village and Harris County ESD No. 9 both saw increases in March 2020 sales tax revenue as compared to revenue from March 2019. (Staff photo)
The city of Jersey Village and Harris County ESD No. 9 both saw increases in March 2020 sales tax revenue as compared to revenue from March 2019. (Staff photo)

The city of Jersey Village and Harris County ESD No. 9 both saw increases in March 2020 sales tax revenue as compared to revenue from March 2019. (Staff photo)

Sales tax collections were up year-over-year for the month of March for the city of Jersey Village and for Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9—which collects tax revenue on behalf of the Cy-Fair Fire Department—according to new data released May 6 by the Texas Comptroller's Office.

Jersey Village saw sales tax revenue increase by 11.4% as compared to March 2019, bringing in about $582,000. So far this fiscal year, sales tax revenue is up by 34.33% for the city, with more than $2.6 million brought in, as compared to just under $2 million at this time in 2019.

At an April 20 Jersey Village City Council meeting, City Manager Austin Bleess said the city was using a $700,000 loss in sales tax revenue as a potential worst-case scenario for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The city was projected to bring in $5.7 million in sales tax revenue when the FY 2019-20 budget was adopted in September.

On May 6, Bleess said the March sales tax collections made him "cautiously optimistic" that revenue shortfalls will not be as bad as originally projected.

"Without having had time to really dig into the numbers—I don’t have an updated projection just yet—but it is quite possible we will still be short of the budget when it comes to sales tax," he said in an email. "We will watch the June distribution amount closely, as that is for sales tax in April."


Bleess said the city is also monitoring other revenue sources that could be affected by the coronavirus, including building permits, licenses and fines.

Meanwhile, ESD No. 9 brought in about $3.4 million in sales tax revenue in March 2020, up 7.14% from March 2019.

The district was projected to bring in about $38 million in sales tax revenue in its FY 2019-20 budget. It has collected about $16.3 million so far this year, according to comptroller data.

Most entities in the Houston area saw decreases in March sales tax revenue as compared to the previous year. The city of Houston saw revenue drop by about $7 million, or 10.26%, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County also saw revenue drop by $7 million, or 9.7%.

In a statement, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said statewide distributions decreased 5% from the previous year.

"
Widespread social distancing requirements were not in place across much of the state until late March, meaning the impact of those measures affected only a portion of allocations for this month," Hegar said. "The agency expects next month’s allocations, based on April sales, will show steeper declines compared to a year ago."
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.