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Comptroller News

DISASTER RELIEF

Strayhorn details hurricane recovery funds

In response to numerous requests from officials in cities and counties affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn released in November a resource directory of federal and state economic development programs that could provide capital to help communities rebuild. The directory is at www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/fedstate05/.

"As disaster relief efforts come to a close, rebuilding businesses and communities begins," Strayhorn said. "Many of these economic development programs have existed for a number of years. Hurricane-affected communities may look to these programs as potential sources of recovery aid."

Strayhorn's directory of federal and state economic development programs highlights 20 federal programs and 15 state programs that provide grants and loans to businesses and local governments that could be used for hurricane recovery projects.


SALES TAX

Revenues reflect hurricane response

Some Southeast Texas communities continue to see declines in sales tax revenue as a result of Hurricane Rita, but overall state and local sales tax revenues are up significantly, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn reported in December.

The state collected $1.58 billion in sales tax in November, up 9.4 percent compared with November 2004. December sales tax allocations to local governments rose by $50.8 million, or 15.8 percent, compared with December 2004.

Sales tax allocations were up 19 percent in 22 counties that were declared disaster areas following Hurricane Rita.

"These sales tax numbers tell the story of Texans' heroic response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita," Strayhorn said. "They show the generosity of Texans who purchased millions of dollars worth of clothing, household goods and emergency supplies for those in need."


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Comptroller publishes fees report

Local Government Code, Section 118.131, requires each of Texas' 254 county commissioners courts to adopt fees for services by the offices of the sheriffs and constables by October 1 of each year. These fees may be set only once during any one-year period and are effective January 1 of the following year.

These fees must be reported to the Comptroller by October 15 for publication by December 15. The Comptroller must then provide a copy of the report to each commissioners court, the State Bar of Texas, and any statewide association of counties or officers of counties that request them by December 15.

For more information or to request a copy, contact Local Government Assistance at local.govt@cpa.state.tx.us or by phone at 1-800-531-5441, extension 5-9844. The report is also available at www.window.state.tx.us/lga/sher06/index.html.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Comptroller announces management reviews

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced in 2005 that her office will conduct Local Government Management Reviews of the city of Socorro, Hill County and Trinity County at the request of local governing officials of those entities. The Comptroller began the Socorro review in December 2005, and she will begin the others in January and March 2006, respectively.

The Comptroller's office conducts Local Government Management Reviews as a service to cities and counties, at no expense to local taxpayers.

"I am committed to helping local governments across Texas be more efficient, more effective and more accountable to the taxpayers," Strayhorn said.