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City revenues up, expenses down halfway through fiscal year

SALISBURY — Halfway through the fiscal year, some revenues are higher than expected and expenses are down for the city of Salisbury.
Mid-year sales tax revenues are $1.3 million, up $12,000 from this time in 2012 and $160,000 from 2011.
The city has received more than half — 56 percent, or $20 million — of budgeted general fund revenue. At the same time, general fund expenditures are less than half — 45 percent, or $16.3 million — of what the city budgeted.
“It’s not quite time to celebrate yet,” City Manager Doug Paris told City Council. “We need to maintain our financial discipline.”
City staff presented the mid-year financial update Tuesday.
Paris said the economic recovery is not strong and urged caution. In a stronger recovery, the city would see higher revenues, he said.
A national or international event could put the economy into a tailspin, affecting the city’s financial picture, Paris said.
“We want to be very conservative,” he said.
Mid-year property tax collection is at the highest level — 68 percent — in six years, Assistant City Manager John Sofley said.
Sofley said based on lagging consumer confidence, he had been concerned that sales tax revenue would dip this year and budgeted less. But revenues are exceeding projections, he said.
State franchise tax receipts are on target. Water-sewer sales totaled $11.2 million for the first six months of the fiscal year, about $300,000 more than budgeted.
The water-sewer fund has received 52 percent of projected revenue but spent just 35 percent of projected expenses. The fund has some upcoming expenses, including a new lift station to replace the Second Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Mid-year, the public transportation fund stands at 50 percent of revenues and 40 percent of expenses. So far, the new stormwater fund has brought in less than half of projected revenue — $570,000 of a $1.3 million budget — but has spent 40 percent of budgeted expenses.
“We are making improvements based on the cash we have available,” Sofley said.
He said departments are doing a great job managing expenses.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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