Victoria council to adopt $8.7 million sales tax budget

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Sept. 15, 2013 at 4:15 a.m.

A half-cent sales tax approved by Victoria voters in 1996 is proposed to fund $8.7 million in projects for the upcoming budget year.

Utility replacement projects throughout downtown Victoria will account for more than half - $5.1 million - of the total sales tax expenses.

From the budget, Victoria Economic Development Corp. programs will see $384,000 to put toward maintenance and operating costs, administration, research and development and other expenses.

The budget also includes $53,000 to hire The Retail Coach, a consultant, to study and identify types of retailers that would fit the community and to develop a marketing strategy.

Assistant Finance Director Andrew Jacob said the sales tax board generally funds infrastructure projects or economic development projects - things that create and promote primary jobs.

The 2012-13 budget was originally set to spend $8.08 million, Jacob said.

As for the retail study, City Manager Charmelle Garrett said she is excited about it.

"One of the reasons we want to pursue this, as we become more and more dependent on sales tax revenue, it's important to protect that revenue source," she said.

The actual contract for the study will be voted on Oct. 1 and should take about 120 business days to complete.

"They will do an analysis for the community to see what opportunities that we have from a retail standpoint and then also develop a marketing strategy so we can market the Victoria community to retail, restaurants," Garrett said.

Local businesses can also benefit from the data, she said, when planning expansion.

"We're a retail and medical hub," Garrett said. "Hopefully, we can come up with analytics that show what is going on from a regional standpoint."



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