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Economy hits city’s coffers

By By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
The struggling economy is taking its toll on Hartselle’s city budget.
Loss of revenue from sales taxes, building and construction permits and interest income is projected to finish the year at more than $550,000 less than what was budgeted.
The city had based its budget this year on $11 million in revenue, up from last year’s actual year-end revenue of $10.8 million. Six-month projections show actual year-end revenue this year will be around $10.52 million. The city set its budget last August and September shortly before the sharp national downturn.
In spite of the revenue loss, Mayor Dwight Tankersley said it remains in better shape than many similarly sized cities.
Tankersley presented the revenue figures as part of a six-month financial review with the Hartselle City Council.
The figures show sales tax is actually up a little compared to the first six months of last year. Last year at this time, sales tax revenues were some $2.526 million. The first six months of this year show sales tax revenue at $2.549 million, a number short of the six-month budget of $2.75 million. Officials are projecting that number to fall off, however, and expect sales tax revenues to finish the year around $124,315 less than the previous year’s total of $5.1 million and some $500,000 less than budget.
Much of the downturn can be seen in connection with the building and construction industry. Fewer houses means fewer planning and construction permit fees, along with less sales tax generated by construction materials purchased here.
The city is expected to end the year with a fund balance of $3.7 million after all grant matches and capital projects, including the purchase of a new fire truck. That’s a net decrease of some $800,000 from last year.