Fiscal presentations were a part of the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16, and the news was generally quite good.
Joshua Jumper with the independent auditing firm of Heinfeld Meech & Co. reported his firm had completed its annual audit of the town’s finances, as well as the comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ending with June 30, 2021. Jumper described the report as “unmodified” or clean, which he said is great news.
No council action was required on the report, but Mayor Ginny Dickey noted there is good, related information in the financial report that provides insight for economic development and other background information related to the town.
Finance Director David Pock gave his update on the town’s finances for the 2020/2021 fiscal year in terms of general numbers. Pock said that last year the town’s General Fund revenues exceeded budgeted expectations by $2.9 million. Also, General Fund expenditures for the year were below budget by $2.3 million. That is roughly $5.2 million on the plus side for the year.
“After reserve requirements are met and budgeted fiscal year 22 transfers are made, a total of $3.8 million will be transferred to the Capital Project Fund,” Pock said.
In his summary for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, from July 1 through Sept. 30, Pock said the finances are continuing to look positive.
“Overall TPT (transaction privileged tax, or sales tax) revenue collection for the first quarter is encouraging and has met budgeted expectations,” Pock said.
He said specifically there were strong year-over-year increases seen in the restaurant/bar and service categories.
State shared income tax revenue is down slightly due to revised calculations based on the 2020 Census figures for the town. Other state shared revenues exceeded quarterly estimates, according to Pock.
He said there was $126 million in net taxable sales activity during the first quarter. That is an increase of $1 million over the first quarter of FY 20/21.
From that sales activity the town received TPT revenues of $3.63 million, or about $140,000 more than the $3.49 budgeted. That is also an increase of $129,000, year over year.
Sales tax for retail sales is slightly behind expectations ($100,000), but it is an increase of $45,000 over the previous year.
With the easing of the pandemic and reduction in internet use from people working at home, there was a drop in TPT collections for the utilities and communications category. It was down about $8,000 from first quarter last year, but collections were still higher than anticipated for the budget.
The restaurant/bar category mentioned previously collected $263,000 in TPT, or about $63,000 over budgeted expectations. It is also an increase of $79,000 over a year ago.
The service category, which includes much of the tourism activities, had a strong start to the fiscal year with $296,000 in collections compared to $223,000 anticipated and $121,000 over first quarter a year ago.
The town received $793,000 in sales tax revenue collected as state shared revenue. This is well ahead of the $740,000 anticipated in the budget.
The Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) brought $458,000 to the town in the first quarter, better than the $419 budgeted.
Vice Mayor Alan Magazine, who is generally cautious when it comes to revenue projections was pleased by what he had heard.
“At this point we appear to be in very good shape,” Magazine said. “Any idea on a forecast?”
“We expect to be right in line with our budgeted numbers,” Pock said.