JWC cities all saw increases in Feb.

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The City of Alice set a new record in sales tax allocations in February, while most other local cities struggled to keep up with last year's numbers, according to information released by the Texas Comptroller Friday.

The City of Alice received $883,018 in sales tax allocations in February, a 26.63 percent increase over allocations for February 2006. The $883,018 received this month is $108,637 more than the previous record allocation, received in December 2006, a 14 percent increase. In the first two months of 2007, the City of Alice has seen a 24.53 percent increase over allocations for the same period of 2006.

The City of Orange Grove received $20,124 in sales tax allocations in February, up 1.46 percent over allocations received in February 2006. For the year, the city of Orange Grove has experienced a .48 percent increase over allocations for the first two months of 2006.

After three straight months in decline, the City of Premont saw a positive sign in February with its highest sales tax allocation since August 2004. The $15,978 received in February was the second highest single-month allocation ever for the city, but represented just a .68 percent increase over allocations for February 2006. For the year, the City of Premont has received $31,153, a 18.56 percent decrease from allocations in the first two months of 2007.

In Duval County, Freer received $51,380 in allocations in February, up 4.73 percent over allocations for February 2006. For the year, the city of Freer has seen a .73 percent decrease from allocations during the same period of 2006.

The City of Benavides received $4,481 in allocations in February, a 6.49 percent decrease from allocations in February 2006. Despite the decrease, for the year the city of Benavides has seen a 1.74 percent increase in allocations over allocations for January and February of 2006.

The City of San Diego received $27,791 in allocations in February, up 1.77 percent over allocations for February 2006.

For the year, San Diego has held steady with allocations from last year, with just a .13 percent increase over allocations for the first two months of 2006.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs in a press release Friday said the state collected $1.76 billion in sales tax revenue in January, up 12.9 percent compared to January 2006.

Combs sent $609.4 million in local sales tax to Texas cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, up 6.4 percent compared to sales tax distributions to local governments in February 2006.

"Local sales tax collections are up, but not by double digits," Combs said. "This confirms what retailers reported earlier regarding their holiday sales. Sales were up, but not as strong as some businesses expected."

January state sales tax collections and February's local sales tax allocations primarily represent sales made in December, but also include earlier sales by businesses that report sales tax to the comptroller on a quarterly or annual basis.

The comptroller sent $414.5 million in sales tax to Texas cities, up 6.1 percent compared to February 2006 payments. Texas counties received February sales tax payments of $35.6 million, up 6.9 percent.

The comptroller's next local sales tax allocation will be made on Friday, March 9.