County judge reports shortfall in sales tax income (live coverage)

Jon Wilcox By Jon Wilcox

April 17, 2017 at 10:02 a.m.
Updated April 16, 2017 at 11 p.m.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court meeting on April 17, 2017.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court meeting on April 17, 2017.   Jon Wilcox for The Victoria Advocate

County Judge Ben Zeller announced another month of sales tax shortfalls during Monday's Commissioners Court meeting.

"It's not looking pretty," Zeller said.

The county collected $647,593.85 for April - about $177,000 less than last year's sales tax collections for that month. With an about $600,000 total deficit in sales tax collections for the first four months of 2017, the county could find itself with a $1.8 million shortfall by the end of the year if that trend continues.

"Last month, we had all anticipated that we be down. It was just a little surprising to see how much has fallen off and how prolonged that decline has been," the county judge said.

While March's sales tax revenue was also less than expected, the deficiency was recovered at least in part when commissioners discovered an "unusual" and unexpected budgetary surplus from the Comptroller's Office, Zeller said.

"We couldn't find anything unusual in this month's numbers. We were looking for it, but it wasn't there," he said.

Although tracing the factors that affect Victoria County's economy is difficult, said County Treasurer Sean Kennedy, this year's dearth is likely connected with the booming and busting of the energy industry.

Zeller agreed.

Although oilfield activity is expected to increase soon, the industry is not returning as quickly as expected.

"We would have anticipated that it would have stabilized by now, but the trend is still downward," Zeller said. "We will continue watching that and make plans accordingly."

Here's a look at Tweets from courts reporter Jon Wilcox covering today's Victoria County Commissioner's Court:




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