Monday, March 25, 2013

'Casual' county coin report part IV

Finance Director Chris Caldwell
And . . . . it's that time again, as the county's top bean counter today explained to commissioners during their monthly luncheon (yes, I did skip a month) just how much money we all can expect when the finance department closes the books this summer.

Or not expect.

As usual, Casual Chris Caldwell throw out a lot of financial mumbo jumbo, voodoo, hoodoo, and whatever detailing the dollars.

As it stands, general fund revenues are up $4.1 million compared to this time last year. And the schools general purpose fund is up $10.3 million.

However, don't start spending it just yet.

General fund expenditures also are up by $5.4 million more than this time last year, although Caldwell said that includes all transfers and designations. In other words, they're including the spending spree the commission went on last March when the county reaped a surplus. It also includes the $2.8 million to cover the literary program the mayor asked to fund.

So, really, all this is nothing more than a moment in time, in constant flux. Or whatever.

School expenditures are up by $12. million, but that, too, includes the $14 million in surplus that the board of education set aside for construction projects.

Caldwell also gave commissioners a sales tax analysis. According to the composite trend – a trend that includes a 12-year average, the prior year and some other stuff – the county is up about $163,000 right now compared to this point last year.

The schools are trending up about $811,500.

Caldwell said they're waiting to finish out March before putting together a composite trend for preopty tax revenues. He said from September 2012 through February the general fund is up $5.4 million and the schools are up $6 million in property tax collections.

This equates to a 6 percent growth, but March is “weird,” Caldwell said, in that if you pay taxes on March 1, then the finances – for accounting purposes – roll back to February. He said he wants to see whether the 6 percent growth is sustained through March or if there is a fall off, which is what he expects (probably about a 2 percent drop), before putting together another composite.

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