Editor's note: This story was updated to include comments from Magnolia City Administrator Don Doering regarding the sales tax allocations Magnolia received. Sales tax revenue actually increased in March although the city received less revenue year over year due to compensating for an additional payment previously allocated by the Comptroller's office.
Sales tax allocations for March in Tomball and Magnolia have been released by the Texas Comptroller, and it paints an early picture of how coronavirus closures have affected sales tax in both cities.
Data on the city of Tomball showed a decrease in revenue of 9.25% compared to March 2019.
Tomball’s March sales tax revenue dropped by $139,000 compared to last year, from $1.50 million to $1.36 million.
Tomball City Manager Robert Hauck said the decrease in revenue was within projected amount for the month.
“It is not a surprise, it was right around where our internal estimates were,” he said. “We were estimating it would be around 10%.”
Hauck said the same projections were made by the comptroller’s office, but he would not be surprised if April’s decrease was higher as it was the first full month to be affected by the coronavirus shutdown.
“I do believe though, with the reopening of Tomball and Texas...and as [more businesses] begin opening on Friday that will be a help in the community,” he said.
Hauck added Tomball is down 1.31% in sales tax allocation for the fiscal year to date, with half the fiscal year completed.
Magnolia saw a 51.77% decrease in sales tax revenue, compared to the previous year, according to Comptroller data. However, the decrease in collections was due to an over payment by the Comptroller's office Magnolia City Administrator Don Doering said May 7.
Doering said the Comptroller's office took funds out of May's payment due to an over payment previously.
"We had an over payment from the last fiscal year, which they made to us; we are just paying that back," he said.
Sales tax data from the state shows Magnolia paid back about $167,000 of its March sales tax allocation. As such, Magnolia actually saw an increase of $43,000 compared to last March—according to current period collections—which is a 17.3% increase in sales allocations, according to Comptroller data.
Doering said next month will probably show a decrease as all businesses have been closed, but he does not know what it will look like yet.
"I anticipate a reduction [for] April, but we won't know until we get there," he said.
The two special districts around Magnolia also saw increases year over year for March.
Montgomery County Emergency Services District No. 10—which contracts with the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department—saw a 16.82% increase year over year, an increase of just under $81,000 from March 2019 to March 2020.
Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District—which spans the FM 1488 and FM 2978—saw an 18.83% increase year over year in March with sales tax revenue increasing $66,000 from March 2019 to March 2020.