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Vacancy savings provide backup plan to falling sales tax revenues

Vacancy savings provide backup plan to falling sales tax revenues

May 29th, 2013 in News

City officials are remaining optimistic about sales tax revenues that have fallen below projected numbers.

At the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, Interim Finance Director Bill Betts said though the sales tax numbers are not meeting the city's projections, which were lowered in March, he is remaining positive.

"We're optimistic that things will start changing for the better," Betts said.

The sales tax report for May shows the 1 percent general sales tax came in $30,074 below projections. In April, the tax came in $74,988 below projections. May's receipts put the total shortfall for the 1 percent sales tax at $89,510.

Betts said he remains optimistic because the state and many other communities are showing signs of increased revenue.

But if that isn't the case, the city is prepared.

Betts said the Finance Department has taken a close look at vacancy savings for the current year and believes the city will have about $930,000 in vacancy savings, which does not include any savings from the city's early retirement program known as SIP.

"We are concerned," Betts said. "But we do have a backup plan."

In other business, the committee approved a tentative work schedule for the City Council's budget meetings, which should begin in July. According to the proposed work calendar, the council will begin discussions by talking about revenues for 2014 after Mayor Eric Struemph presents his budget, currently scheduled for July 18.

The council then would begin meeting twice per week until the 2014 budget is approved.

The one major difference from past years is the council plans on spending one Saturday in July hearing all departments present their budgets.