Anna’s sales tax revenue sees significant increase

Joshua Baethge,
The Anna-Melissa Tribune
New businesses in Anna, such as the Whataburger restaurant that opened earlier this year at Anna Town Center, are helping to drive up the city's sales tax revenue.

ANNA - Official May sales tax numbers released last week show a whopping 37 percent increase in local revenue compared to last year.

That is especially impressive considering that the most stringent COVID-19-related restrictions were just starting to be lifted at that time.

“We thought that sales tax might drop considerably given the fact that people may not get out as much, but it’s actually gone up much higher than we ever would have imagined,” Anna Director of Economic Development Joey Grisham said.

The May revenue increase may be the beginning of a new trend: In March, local revenue increased by more than 26 percent. In April it was up more than 28 percent compared to 2019.

Grisham said that several factors may have contributed to the higher numbers.

Since the beginning of the year, several new restaurants and retailers have opened for business in Anna, including Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, Starbucks and Salsa Tex-Mex restaurants.

Concerns over coronavirus may have led to more grocery shopping, although many items purchased there were tax exempt. Then there is the fact that more people have been working from home this year, which likely contributed to more spending staying within the city.

“Any additional revenue is a huge benefit to the city, especially in these times when everyone thought we would have kind of a decrease,” Grisham said.

According to Anna Mayor Nate Pike, increased sales tax is what will sustain growing communities over the long term.

It is also exactly what Anna’s strategic plan was designed to do. In order for the city to grow economically, commercial development must be a part of its landscape portfolio.

“As we continue to grow and continue to develop, the key ingredient is to make sure you can grow your commercial tax base in the city,” he said. “That’s what gives us the ability to keep our tax rates low.”

Pike said that the city was fortunate to have multiple sales tax entities opening this year, offsetting some effects of the pandemic. He expects revenues to continue increasing as more businesses come in.

The city is currently working on several large projects that officials hope to release details about soon.

Chief among them is the 75-acre business park on the city’s southeast side which could bring up to 1,000 new jobs. Attracting larger employers to Anna would generate significant revenue for the city and allow more residents to work closer to home.

Pike said multiple light-industrial and distribution companies have expressed interest in the area.

There are also a number of of entertainment and commercial opportunities west of U.S. 75 that will come to fruition as population density increases.

The proposed Villages of Hurricane Creek development includes plans for 984 single-family homes, 400 multi-family units and 50,000 square feet of space.

Riseland Homes has begun work on the Mantua development, a massive 2,950 mixed-used development that will extend into both Anna and Van Alstyne.

City leaders have begun working on a new comprehensive growth plan that they hope to adopt within the next year. The goal is to establish a footprint of what the city wants to be and where to make room for various types of ventures.

Pike acknowledges that many Anna residents may not be thrilled at the prospect of so many people moving to the area. However, all trends point to a huge influx of people relocating north as the Dallas-Fort Worth area continues to expand.

“Nobody has the ability to stop that,” he said. “What we have to do is to continue to focus on managed, planned growth.”

Anna Director of Economic Development Joey Grisham