BROWNSVILLE, Texas (My RGV News) — Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation President and CEO Josh Mejia, in a recent interview about BCIC’s just-released fiscal year 2021 annual report, said that despite the year’s challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, the organization is in a good place financially as it heads into 2022.

That’s partly because of a big surge in sales tax revenue. Despite the pandemic and the closure of international bridges to non-essential travel from Mexico most of the year, the city’s sales tax increased nearly 19 percent in 2021. BCIC’s operations and business-assistance programs are funded by a half-cent sales tax. A few things are behind the increase, including a return to restaurants and shopping last year as people who held back on spending in 2020 indulged the urge to get back to normal, Mejia said.

Brownsville also saw the usual “retail leakage,” what they call it when residents go out of town to shop mitigated to some extent as locals moved toward shopped local, he said. Inflation has also helped push sales tax higher, since things cost more, as has a certain rocket company and it’s 1,500 or employees whose spending power is being felt from Rancho Viejo to downtown Brownsville, Mejia said.

“We can’t deny that SpaceX’s presence and continued growth has also triggered an increase in sales tax revenue,” he said.