Due to strong sales tax collections and prudent budgeting, the City of Alexander City is $352,000 in the black and finance director Sandy Stanbrough said she remains hopeful the city will break even by the time the fiscal year ends in three months.
“I feel optimistic it’ll be down to breaking even,” Stanbrough said after giving June’s financial report to the city council at Monday’s meeting. “It’s a pleasant situation. I know we have department heads and superintendents who are being good stewards of our finances and there is a concerted effort to get the city into a fiscally sound position.”
The city has a $352,666 surplus through June, even counting $5.864 million in capital outlays, such as paving, infrastructure repairs and equipment purchases.
Sales tax collections are approaching the levels seen in 2017 when construction of the Sabal Trail Pipeline was a boon to the local economy.
“There is not anything we can point our fingers at and say, ‘This is why we’re getting a boost,’” Stanbrough said. “Internet sales help and the economy is good. I see no reason it won’t continue to be steady.”
The city has collected $8.5 million in sales taxes from October to July. During the pipeline heyday over the same period in 2017, the city brought in $8.6 million, Stanbrough said.
The $8.5 million is a substantial increase from the $8 million over the same period in 2016 and the $8.3 million during the same span in 2018, according to Stanbrough.
The city made $899,000 in June sales taxes collected in July, which is up 3% from July 2018 and represents the eighth-highest month in the last 34 months, Stanbrough said.
The city’s sales tax collections from October to July is also 3% more than the same period in 2018.
“It’s a good thing,” Stanbrough said. “It’s stable at a 3% increase for the year and from last July.”
The $352,666 surplus through June is down from a $645,000 surplus through May but Stanbrough told the council earlier to expect the decline.
“The business tax and property tax collections come in the first part of the year and the first half of the year is when a good part of the revenue comes in,” she said. “It will go down in the last few months (of the fiscal year).”
Revenue in the general fund — encompassing public works, public safety, administrative costs and parks and recreation — is $847,000 over projections and expenses are $955,595 below projections.
Revenue in the enterprise fund — which includes all utilities and the municipal golf course — is $724,000 above projections and expenses are $1.1 million less than projected. The enterprise fund is $1.349 million in the black after Stanbrough projected a $1.672 million deficit, again counting the capital expenses.
In all, the city has brought in $42.368 million so far this fiscal year after $40.796 million was projected. Expenses are $36.151 million, much less than the $38.259 million projected.
Major expenses in June included a $186,206 bucket truck for the electric department, a $178,129 ambulance for the fire department and $83,547 in paving costs.