Troy sales tax numbers on track with budget

Published 8:36 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

When the city of Troy took hits on its sales tax collections last year, it set itself up to better weather a similar storm this year.

But, that storm, at least for now, has yet to come, meaning Troy is actually not under budget for its projected sales tax income.

That’s not because Troy has collected more in sales taxes this year, because when compared to the same time period last year, the city still falls short about $48,000.

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Simply, the city prepared itself to make even less than it had in the 2009 budget year.

“We are about level roughly, but we budgeted a decrease this year. So with what we’ve budgeted this year, we’re a little above not much,” Lunsford said.

But, what the city of Troy couldn’t have prepared for is its long-term loss.

“You can go back 20 years, and it was a continual growth through 2008,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

While that growth continued through 2008, the economic hits of 2009 changed that steady growth.

In 2007, the city of Troy brought in around $5.7 million; in 2008, Troy collected $5.9 million and in 2009, the number fell to $5.5 million.

Based on collection comparisons from this year to last year, Troy is on track to bring in roughly as much as it had in 2009.

Despite the city’s recent downhill trek in sales tax collections, it has been able to continue to grow its operating budget.

The mayor attributes those increases to growth in other areas of the budget, including its utility department.

“The budget is based on the actual revenue,” he said.

Still, the city of Troy will have to take a close look at these funds when considering its next steps — including long-term operations of its recently purchased Troy Regional Medical Center, plans to build a new public library and requests from the Troy-Pike Animal Shelter Coalition for a long-term commitment.

Lunsford said he isn’t ready to make recommendations on the library, shelter or any other capital plans the city may consider just yet, but these figures will play a part in his consideration.

“Sales tax plays a role in the overall budgeting process. It funds mostly police, fire and needs the city has that are not revenue producing,” Lunsford said. “Sales tax obviously figures into new projects and maintaining service or expanding service.”

*The sales tax numbers presented do not include the amount collected from the additional one-cent tax implemented in March for Troy Regional Medical Center operations for comparison purposes.

Those amounts will be explored in a different story.