Float Fest helps make sales tax allowances free in Gonzales County

By LEW K. COHN, Inquirer Editor

All four municipalities in Gonzales County recorded gains in their sales tax allocations for the month of September, perhaps showing some of the impact Float Fest has had on the local economy.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced he has sent cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose districts $1.04 billion in local sales tax allocations for September, or $13.1 % more than in September 2021. These allocations are based on sales made in July by companies that declare tax monthly.

Float Fest was held July 22-24 on the Guadalupe River at a 765-acre private ranch on County Road 197 with over 15,000 people in attendance. Hotel rooms in Gonzales were full, and grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants and other businesses said they were overwhelmed with customers for the weekend. There also appears to have been some impact on nearby towns.

For the month of September 2022, municipalities in Gonzales County received a total of $298,830.68 in sales tax allocations, up $53,116.61 or more than 21.6% from the 245,664 $.07 received in September 2021. 22.4% of $2,218,575.18 received this time last year.

Sales tax allowances for Gonzales, the largest city in the county that generates the lion’s share of sales tax revenue, were $254,527.36, up $46,180.46 or 22.16 % above the $208,346.90 received last September. The month is Gonzales’ seventh-best on record when considering individual months, not those that include quarterly payments.

The best September in Gonzales’ history for sales tax allocation was September 2014, when the city received $269,742.28 in sales tax allocations, just $15,214.92 more than the city only received this month.

For the year, Gonzales received $2,356,053.44, an increase of $476,429.45, or 25.34%, above the $1,879,623.99 the city has received at this point l ‘last year.

“It certainly appears that Float Fest contributed to a July sales tax increase when comparing July 2021 to July 2022. We need to have HOT Q3 data from the Comptroller’s Office before making any bold claims” , said Jennifer Kolbe, executive director. of the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation. “We have heard positive reports that hotels were full. Retailers told us they had a steady stream of visitors looking for a cool place to shelter from the extreme heat.

“Other factors contributing to the sales tax increase are the Star Spangled Spectacular, events at the JB Wells Expo and Rodeo Arena, sales at our home improvement stores for residential and commercial renovation, and contractors from the city working on infrastructure projects.

“We have been following a good upward trend in sales tax revenues for several months. We are grateful when residents shop locally and tourists choose to spend their money here. The sales tax provides the necessary revenue for the city to reinvest in the community,” added Kolbe.

“I was very impressed with Float Fest’s impact on local sales taxes and the festival itself was amazing,” County Judge Pat Davis said. “We prepared a lot for this and everything turned out to be a success. Everyone had a great time and there were no problems even with 16,000 people in attendance.

“I was there as a county judge as much as possible to see what was going on. It was amazing that people were out there picking up trash and they didn’t believe in throwing trash in the river. I had a great time and I think not only will they be back next year, but we could see their numbers increase.

Float Fest Founder Marcus Federman said, “I am thrilled to see that Gonzales has been able to thrive thanks to all of the Float Fest patrons! We hope to continue this trend in the years to come and help Gonzales’ business thrive.

Sales tax receipts for Nixon were $35,769.20, up $6,462.01, or 22.04%, above the $29,307.19 received in September 2021. That was still better than the $35,187.73 the city received in August 2022, which included second quarter quarterly taxes, so it’s possible Float Fest could have impacted Nixon as well.

This represents the best monthly sales tax allocation for Nixon since December 2017, when the city received $76,688.58. That seems like a blessing for a city that received much larger sales tax allowances seven to eight years ago just after the Great Recession ended, but had seen the loss of a number of businesses that contributed to sales tax revenue.

For the year, sales tax allowances increased by $20,395.47 or 8%, with Nixon receiving $275,326.40 in the nine months of 2022, compared to $254,930.99 for the same period last year. last.

Waelder recorded sales tax revenue of $6,182.81, an increase of $294.78, or 5%, over last September’s allowance of $5,888.03 and an increase of 246, $64 compared to last month’s allocation of $5,936.17, which included quarterly tax filings. This represents the tenth best month on record for the city; however, the city had better allocations in June, March and January of this year.

For the year, the sales tax allowance is down 1.62% or $947.27 from $58,311.65 received in the first nine months of 2021 to $57,364.38 received during the same period this year.

Finally, Smiley’s sales tax revenue was $2,351.31, an increase of 10.8% from the $2,121.95 allocated in September 2021. For the year, sales tax allocations increased by $238.90, or 0.92%, from $25,708.61 at this point last year to $25,947.51 this year.

Two towns in Gonzales County — Gonzales and Nixon — collect a 1.5% sales tax rate, while Smiley and Waelder collect a 1% sales tax.

James V. Hayes