Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 27, 2013

Budget review shows ups and downs

By TESA GLASS tesa.glass@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Tax receipts received by the city is down from projections, but the budget deficit anticipated is smaller than projected.

"In the general corporate fund, we passed a budget with a $611,000 deficit," City Manager Ron Neibert told the council Monday during a quarterly budget review. "That deficit has shrunk to $74,000 to date. If it continues to trend as it is now, that deficit will be $300,000 by the end of the budget year. We're hoping to continue to trim it down so it is even less."

The general corporate fund had an operating cash balance of $3.149 million on April 30, 2013, the end of the fiscal year; on July 41, the operating cash balance was $3.124 million counting an extra payroll in May which lowered the cash by $148,000. The working fund balance on April 30 was $3.7 million, more than the projected budget balance of $3.65 million. The working fund balance on July 31 was at $3.6 million.

"Actual revenues are at 24.5 percent of the budget," Neibert said. "The expenditures are at 24.2 percent."

In the public utilities fund, the operating cash balance on April 30 was $23,245; the operating cash balance on July 31 was at $86,967, counting the extra payroll in May which lowered the cash by $19,500.

The working cash balance on April 30 in the public utilities fund was at $491,209; higher than the budget projeted balance of $402,854. The working fund balance on July 31 was $419,330.

Neibert reported the revenues in the public utilities fund are at 24.3 percent of the budget and expenditures are at 26 percent of budget.

"That percentage is always higher at this time of year for the expenditures," Neibert reminded the council. "That's because during the summer months, public utilities is working on projects during the construction season."

In the 1 percent sales tax receipts, the city was down 1 percent from the previous year for April receipts; and down 2.4 percent in May receipts.

"Ovedrall, we are down .8 percent from the previous year; and down 1.5 percent for the year on the budgeted amount," Neibert said. "We will be monitoring these numbers very closely. We're anticipating the next three months to have better numbers."

Those better numbers expected are due in part to the closing of the Sears store, Neibert said.

"We are in a unique position with Sears," Neibert explained. "Our Sears, through liquidation, is getting more sales than the store in Fairview Heights. They are also running overstocks from other stores through our store."

Sears will be closing at Times Square Mall in September, and Hobby Lobby is expected to open in the space the first quarter of 2014 — in time to affect this fiscal year.

The Home Rule Sales TAx is showing larger deficits in the year-to-year comparison, down 3.6 percent for April and down 1.5 percent in May. Overall, there is a 2.5 percent decrease for the fiscal year so far, and a 3.6 percent year-to-date budgeted deficit.

The city is picking up ground overall from State Income Tax receipts. The receipts were down 12.3 percent for May; up 4.7 percent for June and up 3.6 percent in July.

"Overall, we are only down 1.1 percent from this time last year," Neibert said. "But, we are 2.7 percent up from our budget projections."