Northampton sales tax revenue lagging

Published 8:44 am Thursday, March 24, 2011

JACKSON — The drop in sales tax is still effecting Northampton County finances and officials are keeping a close eye on the solid waste fund.

On Monday, Northampton County Board of Commissioners heard an operating budget report from County Manager Wayne Jenkins.

The report, compiled by Finance Officer Dot Vick, showed revenues over expenditures in the operating budget, which includes the general fund and the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Jenkins noted the general fund (beginning July 1, 2010 and ending January 31, 2011), the net revenues are over expenditures by $4.21 million.

The report showed revenues in Fund 80 (DSS) are under expenditures by 90,648.31, but federal and state revenue collection is up by $88,447 from this period last year.

The net revenue for the operating budget stands at $4.12 million.

The county’s enterprise funds (Water and Solid Waste) are currently operating in the black with revenues over expenditures.

The water fund is currently at $690,743.61 of revenues over expenditures and is operating with an increase of $67,225 over last year for this period.

“Keep in mind though, it’s debt heavy the second half of the fiscal year,” Jenkins said. “So our debt service will be paid in May and June.”

Meanwhile, the solid waste fund is over expenditures by $386,311.75.

“There, the majority of our tax collections come in before January 1,” Jenkins said. “So, you can see that the revenue is going to decline in the next six months and expenditures will eat up that number.”

On a positive note, the report showed the fund operating with an increase of $30,343 over last year. Jenkins said the increase of the revenues in the fund is a good indicator that the trash can audit has likely helped solve the problem.

“This is an indicator that the problem is getting better,” he said.

Commissioner Robert Carter questioned if the audit was ongoing.

“That audit is ongoing monthly and our expenditure report is adjusted monthly to reflect that audit,” Jenkins responded. “Certainly there are 10,800 trash cans out in the county and I’m not going to stand here and tell you that there are not some out there that we probably should picked up, but if you know of a situation give me a call or shoot me an email.”

Jenkins noted the county’s general fund tax collection is currently at 89 percent of the budgeted amount compared to this time last year where it stood at 90 percent.

The report showed sales tax is still lagging in the county.

Sales tax received by the county as of Jan. 31 is 36.1 percent of budget. Jenkins said that number should be at 42 percent, and Vick is hopeful the economy will pick up by the end of the fiscal year.

“This is a little bit disturbing,” said Jenkins.