South Montgomery County communities experienced a slight uptick in sales tax revenue in January with The Woodlands, Shenandoah and Oak Ridge North each seeing a small increase in the first month of 2013, based on November 2012 sales.
Oak Ridge North had the biggest percentage increase as allocations grew 5.91 percent from about $97,000 in January 2012 to $102,000 in January 2013, according to the State Comptroller's website. Susan Cates, economic development coordinator for Oak Ridge North, attributed growth to the holiday sales of French Courtyard on Robinson Road and Kirkland's, which opened in late November in The Woodridge Plaza along I-45.
"I think an awareness of the businesses and quality of the businesses in the city are drawing business from The Woodlands to Oak Ridge North," Cates said.
She said there are a few businesses the city is negotiating with for leases in The Woodridge Plaza which could bring additional sales tax revenue to the city in 2013. The renovation of the Food Basket shopping center along I-45 could attract additional retail businesses and restaurants in the upcoming year, Cates said.
Oak Ridge North experienced a 14.8 percent increase in sales tax allocations from 2011 to 2012.
The Woodlands experienced less than a 1 percent increase in allocations from January 2012 over the same period in 2013 as revenue grew from about $2.658 million to $2.659 million. The Woodlands Township's sales tax revenue rose more than 16 percent from $30.9 million in 2011 to $35.8 million in 2012.
Nick Wolda, president of The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he was unsure as to why The Woodlands did not experience significant growth in November sales. Wolda said there were a number of factors which needed to be researched, including construction projects and retail sales. However, he said major retail areas, including The Woodlands Mall, had spoken positively about sales figures over the holidays.
"Everything I'm hearing is phenomenal growth," Wolda said. "In terms of the number of people coming into Town Center, there's certainly been no drop off."
January sales tax allocations also rose about 4.5 percent in the City of Shenandoah from about $457,200 in 2011 to $477,900 in 2012.
"We don't really have any one thing that we attribute that to," Shenandoah Finance Director Jennifer Calvert said. "It's just been a really great sales season for us."
Shenandoah sales tax revenue increased more than 9 percent from $5.8 million in 2011 to $6.3 million in 2012.