Sales tax revenue up for city, county
September 24, 2008
The city of Craig’s financials look good and not so good in different spots, city Finance Director Bruce Nelson said.
City records show that sales tax revenue has jumped for the city and Moffat County.
Recently, both governments have been somewhat concerned with sales tax collections, which can be an indicator of consumer confidence in the economy and the quality of life for residents.
Concerns came about when sales tax revenues stopped increasing at previous levels, which showed that the local economy may have been slowing down. At the county, sales taxes came in less than budgeted some months and were less than what was collected the year before.
If sales tax revenues continued to come in less than their 2007 totals, it could have been an indicator that the local economy was receding.
However, July sales tax returns for the county are up almost 20 percent compared to July 2007, and up 21 percent for the city during those months, also.
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Nelson said he tried to do some investigation about why sales taxes made such a turnaround, and said it seemed to be because of delinquent payments from local businesses. That would account for the poor collections in previous months and the apparent gains in July, he said.
Federal Mineral Lease revenue and severance taxes also came in higher than expected.
Mineral leases paid out almost $840,000 to the city this year, roughly $340,000 more than Nelson budgeted for.
Severance taxes, which are collected for natural resources extracted in Colorado and then sold in another state, totaled $519,000 for the city, about $219,000 more than planned.
Nelson said natural resource taxes are so volatile, he purposefully budgets conservatively.
Not all news in the report was positive, however.
After some review, the City Council decided it may need to increase landfill collection fees to keep up with the county’s fee increases.
The city’s solid waste fund is operated as an enterprise fund, meaning its revenues are used to pay for its costs without the city spending any tax money on operations.
Since Moffat County raised County Landfill fees in April, the solid waste fund has lost money every month. In August, the fund operated at a roughly $8,000 deficit, the largest shortfall so far.
Randy Call, city Road and Bridge and Refuse Department director, said the city needs to act at some point, but left that decision to the Council.
“We’ve just been riding along with this fund and we need to do something,” he said.
Mayor Don Jones does not want to wait.
“I want to solve this issue this year,” he said, and asked Call and Nelson to prepare estimates for how high the city may need to raise its landfill collection fees. The mayor said he wanted to see figures by the council’s next meeting Oct. 14.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org