The Norman Transcript

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January 18, 2013

City revenue strong despite lower sales tax numbers

NORMAN — It’s a good news, bad news scenario. Good news? The city finished last year stronger than anticipated. The bad news? Sales tax revenue is down.

The city of Norman’s General Fund closed the 2012 fiscal year with a higher fund balance — $6,349,460 — than was anticipated when the new FY 2013 budget was adopted.

That money has been carried forward into this year and is available for appropriation at the city council’s discretion.

“We did start the year off better than we thought we would,” Norman Finance Manager Anthony Francisco said.

But while most of the city’s major revenue streams are on target to meet budget projections, sales tax revenue has been revised downward based on the mid-year review by the city finance staff.

“The first thing we looked at was sales tax, and as we’ve reported, our sales tax has been tracking a little low,” Francisco said.

That drop equals a 2.8 percent decrease, Francisco said, and represents a $1 million-plus difference in the estimated sales tax projected to be received into the city’s General Fund for the current fiscal year, which started July 1 and runs through June 30.

To date as of Dec. 31, the city has collected $18,193,765 in sales tax revenue. While that number represents a 2.4 percent increase from the same period last year, Francisco and his team had predicted about a 4 percent growth.

Use tax — sales tax applied to purchases made outside the city for uses within the city — is up slightly but tracking close to budget projections, Francisco said. Revenue sources that are running above budget projections include franchise taxes and fees with $3,496,586 collected so far this fiscal year; licenses and permits with $472,890 collected; other taxes with $1,063,508 collected; and fines and forfeitures with $1,203,360.

Investment income was down nearly 82 percent from budget predictions and nearly 73 percent from the same time period last year with only $9,377 collected. Last year at this mid-point, investments had earned $34,626.

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