By SHANNON CRABTREE
El Campo’s economy remained the strongest in Wharton County, according to the latest indicators released by the state comptroller’s office.
The city saw a 4.75 percent increase in its sales tax rebate this month. This is based on sales within the municipal limits in March in comparison to the same period in 2018.
For the calendar year, city sales tax rebates are up 6.82 percent.
“Our numbers are up and we will continue to watch the growth. It is slow, but we are still seeing growth. For the next fiscal year, I expect we will be more conservative (in budgeting). I do not expect a dramatic increase. I don’t think progress will stop, but I think it will slow,” City Manager Courtney Sladek said.
The $389,097 check brings state rebate payments for the calendar year up t $1,697,870.
El Campo is the only sales tax collecting entity in Wharton County to see a gain in its sales tax rebate.
Wharton County’s rebate dropped 6.05 percent in May. For the calendar year, this makes it down 11.52 percent.
For 2018, sales taxes were up just .43 percent. The county finished 2017 up 11.6 percent from 2016.
The city of Wharton’s check fell 16.34 percent this month, and is down 8.08 for the year. In 2018, the city’s rebates were up 6.38 percent. In 2017, the town’s rebate dropped 4.8 percent.
East Bernard’s rebate dropped 1.6 percent in May, but is almost holding steady for the calendar year, down just .07 percent. The city’s rebates were up 20.9 percent in 2018 and were up 2.38 percent in 2017.
Throughout 2018, El Campo sales tax rebates were up about 9 percent in comparison to 11 percent in 2017. Prior to that, sales tax rebates had fallen for several years.
The El Campo economy has shown gains 22 of the last 27 months.