By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
The cities of Corsicana, Frost, Goodlow, Mildred, Oak Valley, Rice, Richland, and Navarro County, all got early Christmas gifts in the form of higher sales tax checks, payment from the state for purchases made in October.
The news wasn’t so jolly for the cities of Dawson, Emhouse, Eureka, Kerens, Mustang and Navarro, however, which posted lower tax receipts for the same time period, although Eureka and Kerens are up for the year thus far.
Corsicana, which is the county’s largest income-generator, realized a 10.6 percent increase this October, as compared with last October, according to figures from the Texas Comptroller’s office.
It was a pleasant surprise for city officials, which had budgeted a more conservative prediction, according to City Manager Connie Standridge.
“This one month is really unusual in that it’s 10.86 percent up,” she said. “We budgeted it to be up slightly in sales taxes, we budgeted a little over 1 percent, so it’s certainly more than we budgeted.”
Sales taxes in the various cities have gone up and down in the last 14 months, but there has been an overall increase for Corsicana over previous years.
“I think the experts will tell you the economy is improving and that sales tax in Texas overall was up, so it’s reflective of a statewide improvement in the economy,” Standridge said.
Kerens had several enormous months in the last fiscal year, but although it had a slight fall in October, the city is still up almost 35 percent for the year.
Unemployment is also down when compared to last year, according to Stuart Schoppert, center manger for Workforce Solutions in Corsicana.
In November 2011, Navarro County’s unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. Last month, it was 6.6 percent, Schoppert said.
“That kind of compares nationwide. The U.S. is at about 7.4 percent, and in Texas, the average rate in all counties is 5.8 percent,” Schoppert explained. “We’re still pretty much where we’ve been. Texas has been below the national average since 2008 or before, but our numbers have come down. I guess the good news is they’re down. The bad news is we’re still above the state average.”
Although several big companies left or closed in the last 18 months, those jobs have been absorbed.
“Most of the (Home Depot Warehouse) people actually went up to DeSoto,” he said. “I suspect when they get tired of that drive they may decide to head back down this way. But we didn’t have as big a burden there. Most of the people at Sew Team were hired by Carol Moran (of Corsicana Bedding).”
Schoppert said he’s seen more of an impact by the loss of Ennis’ Direct Energy call center than from the local companies that closed.
“Some people took the opportunity to go back to school and get retrained, including some of the Kohl’s people,” he said. ““We’ve been pretty lucky.”
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com