The Edmond Sun

January 29, 2013

Council mulls budget issues

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — The Edmond City Council has begun discussing its budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. City Finance Director Ross VanderHamm briefed the City Council at a budget workshop Monday.

Last year the council budgeted for a 3 percent rise in sales tax revenue and ended up seeing 6.18 percent growth for the fiscal year, VanderHamm said. This was the highest growth rate in the previous five years, he said.

Sales tax figures from the state show the city’s January check is 15.49 percent above the same period a year ago, VanderHamm said. Collections represent the last two weeks of November and the first two weeks of December.

VanderHamm recommends that the council budget for a 6 percent sales tax growth for FY 2013-14 with 5 percent budgets to follow for the next four years.

“That’s higher than the last few years but it’s below the average of the last 10 years,” VanderHamm said.

The City Council had budgeted for 3 percent growth in sales tax for the fiscal year. Year to date receipts for sales tax revenue are currently 19.31 percent more than a year ago, VanderHamm said.

Sales tax figures from the state show the city’s January check is 15.49 percent above the same period a year ago, and last month’s sales tax receipts showed collections were up 31 percent. Collections represent the last two weeks of November and the first two weeks of December.

“Generally speaking our direct revenues went from $40.1 million in 2007-08 to $45.6 million in 2011-12,” VanderHamm said.

The city’s sales tax is 3.75 percent. It is added to the 4.50 percent state sales tax.

“Last year we actually spent $1.4 million less than what we actually brought in,” VanderHamm said.

The General Fund Sales Tax for 2012 saw 6.8 percent growth above the prior fiscal year.

This year’s budget for the General Fund is $28.2 million, he said.

VanderHamm said the city has $19 million budgeted for the first seven months of the fiscal year. The General Fund revenue at the end of the fiscal year would still be 10 percent above the prior year at $30.8 million even with the 3-percent growth budgeted by the city, VanderHamm said.

 “Do I think that’s where we are going to be? No,” VanderHamm said.

He said the City of Edmond is likely experiencing a 7 percent to 8 percent real growth in sales tax collections if it does not include the extra revenue from spring storm damage.

City Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell said the City Council also should consider that single-family construction permits went up about 55 percent from the year before.

The council will determine the 2013-14 budget in May and must vote on it by June.