Alton sales tax revenue breaks $1 million in 2018

ALTON — The city reached a milestone in its growth last year by reaching more than $1 million in sales tax during the 2018 calendar year, the first time in its history.

In 2018, Alton posted $1,007,267 in sales tax revenue, up from $834,411 in 2017, according to City Manager Jorge Arcaute.

“This was a bit of a milestone for us but I think it’s just another step along the way in the growth of the city,” Arcaute said.

The 2018 revenues are also more than double their revenues for 2010, which totaled $489,051.

Throughout those last eight years, Arcaute said there was steady growth aside from the occasional jump, which was likely due to the arrival of a new, significant sales tax contributor.

“But for this year, we haven’t had any real new business like that, that’s a sales tax generator, come in,” he said. “This is, I think, more reflective of some real solid economic growth in the city.”

As an example of the economic growth that could have attributed to the sales, Arcaute pointed to an increase in traffic to their existing stores.

That increase in traffic, in turn, could be explained by the city’s growth over the years.

From April 2010 to July 2017, the city grew in population by 3,361, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, placing their population at 17,278.

Arcaute said the growth is likely because of where Alton is situated geographically: in McAllen’s growth pattern as they move west and in Mission’s growth pattern as they move north.

“As those cities get a little more developed and the real estate prices go up, you start looking at places that are…close enough that you can still get the benefits of those bigger cities,” he said.

“Our activity’s been pretty solid the last two or three years, it’s finally kicking in.”

The city manager said he expected the population growth to continue and the city’s Economic Development Corporation is working on a marketing campaign to tout the city’s benefits.

Among them is a property tax rate lower than Mission or McAllen’s and a project to bring free Wifi to residents throughout the city. The project is currently in its second and third phases.

“These are things that attract folks,” he said. “You start to realize that living in Alton is just as good as living in McAllen and Mission.”