Fall in sales tax crimps county plan

Tue, 05/20/2008 - 4:28pm
By: Ben Nelms

‘Balanced’ budget expected with current tax rate in place

Fayette County commissioners got an overview Tuesday of the recommended 2009 budget. Finance Director Mary Holland explained that the budget would balance at the current tax rate, though the effects of the slowdown in the local economy continue to be clearly visible.

Holland said the estimated revenue from all governmental funds is expected to show an increase of 1.4 percent, or $854,000.

She said the recommended budget is as conservative as possible, given the current economic situation the county is facing. During the budget overview, Holland said the budget balanced using the current tax rate.

Holland said sales tax revenue may take the biggest hit, with anticipated revenues falling 8.3 percent, at $10 million compared to the $10.9 million figure in 2008.

“We’re watching this every month. It’s fluctuating,” Holland said, noting that the area showing the largest sales tax decline is in building materials.

Holland said property taxes are estimated to increase by 3.4 percent, from $35 million to $36.1 million. The increase includes a projected 2.6 percent increase in economic growth and factors such as revenue from fire and EMS funds.

Reflecting the economic slowdown is the anticipated revenue from licenses and permits, expected to dip from $619,500 in 2008 to $441,500 next year, a 28.7 percent decrease. Investment income is also expected to decrease due to falling interest rates. The $2.1 million received in 2008 is expected to fall to $1.77 million in 2009, a decrease of 16.3 percent.

Revenue areas expected to show an increase included the intergovernmental budget, anticipated at a 15.3 percent difference over the current year, a revenue increase of approximately $405,000. Also expected to increase are fines and forfeitures at 2.9 percent, charges for services at 4.5 percent and other taxes at 4.6 percent.

On the expenditure side, total governmental funds are recommended for a 2.5 percent increase, offset by a .6 percent decrease in landfill and water system enterprise funds, for an overall 1.9 percent increase, or $1.167 million.

Total expenditures are expected to decrease by $5.264 million, due largely to a large drop in capital funds projects.

Commissioners at the meeting discussed eliminating nearly 40 building projects that have funds left over from projects that have been completed, cancelled or no longer needed. Those general fund projects from 13 county departments totaled $1.626 million.

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