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Jefferson City's financial health is positive and the prognosis is just as good, Margie Mueller, director of finance, reported Thursday morning to the Finance Committee.

The 1 percent general sales tax fund was $142,085 over budget so far this year, Mueller said.

In her three-month revenue model report, Mueller said most of the 14 components were reflecting over-budget performance for the three-month period ending Jan. 31, topped by the $159,065-plus in sales and use taxes and $134,863-plus in property taxes. The Fines and Forfeitures Account was off $57,824, however.

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The city's fiscal year 2017 budget is for $31.423 million, with $9.783 million already consumed in the first quarter. The actual first quarter results showed revenue $222,807 over budget through Feb. 3, she said.

Mueller attributed the robust performance to slow and steady growth of the Jefferson City economy, which she said parallels the state's fiscal status.

Rick Prather, Finance Committee chairman and Ward 1 councilman, agreed with Mueller, adding the City Council's decision to maintain a 17 percent fund balance assures municipal stability. The fund balance represents the cash reserves cities maintain to safeguard against fiscal reversals.

Mueller predicted the over-budget performance of sales taxes would continue through the final three quarters of the fiscal year, ending Oct. 31.

The city's annual audit is now underway and will continue through April, the committee was advised.

Chief Accountant Shiela Pearre reported the city's monthly hotel occupancy numbers were off in December, down to 42.1 percent from 45.1 in December 2015. Nationwide, occupancy rates in December 2016 were at 52.9 percent compared to 53 percent in 2015. Around Missouri, Jefferson City's 42.1 percent December occupancy compared with 43.6 in Columbia, 47 in Springfield, 49.6 in Branson, 25.7 at the Lake of the Ozarks, 48.8 at Joplin and 45.3 in St. Joseph.

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