Odessa City Officials Pleased to See Higher Sales Tax Dollars

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--Sales tax revenues are up in the City of Odessa and that's a good thing.

That means more people are getting out and spending more money.  It's a trend that's been going on for a few months and things are really looking good for the City of Odessa.

Lot's of new businesses under construction set the stage for more places to shop and spend.  That means the only way for tax revenues to go from here is up.

"That means there's more money is being spent out in the economy here locally and that brings more sales tax dollars to the city," Assistant City Manager, James Zentner, said.

After a grim start, city officials were bracing for the worst.  Sales tax revenues were down this year, well below what they had expected.

According to Zentner, "We were very concerned, at the beginning of the fiscal year, that our sales tax number would not be good for the balance of the year.  That decrease was, I think, due to the economy.  Less money out there was being spent."

But Zentner explains, over the last four months, things have started to look a whole lot brighter, "They started back in May with a 5% increase.  Then they went up to about 14% in June.  July went to 16% and August went to 25%.  So, that's a pretty good increase."

Tax revenues are key in letting folks know what's going on in the local economy.  These particular numbers are very good news for economic development.

According to Gary Vest, the Director of Economic Development, "People that look at this area to move a business here or something, they look at those kinds of statistics, too.  They want to know what the heartbeat is of the economy.  They want to know how strong the economy is, where they're striving. "

Everything goes hand in hand.  The more appealing a city looks, the more businesses want to come here.  And that means more options to choose from.

"We have more shopping accessible, new venues for entertainment and things like that. That kind of quality of life is important to anybody who is considering relocating to a community," Vest said.

That brings us full circle.

"The more employment we have in the city, there's more money available for the economy, to be spent and some of that goes into sales tax dollars," Zentner said.

So, you might ask, does this mean the economy is getting stronger?

According to the City of Odessa, "Based on the last four months of sales tax, it certainly is."