Collection Rates Edge Up In Oct.

ST. MARYS — Despite an increase in income tax collections in October, the city of St. Marys still lags behind last year’s totals.

For the month of October, the city collected $374,039.37 in income taxes — approximately $11,000 more than the $362,461.17 it collected during the same period in 2010. The figure also surpassed the $294,590.60 it collected in 2009 and the $297,333.48 it collected in 2008.

Year to date, the city has collected $3.153 million dollars, down from $3.255 million it collected in 2010. In 2009, the city collected $2.982 million during the same time period. In 2008, the city hauled in $3.99 million.

“It’s tough to predict, you have a ballpark but you don’t know if they will be up or down,” St. Marys Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock told The Evening Leader.

Members of the city’s finance committee were initially scheduled to meet on Monday to finalize the 2012 budget. Hitchcock said the meeting was canceled because the version councilors passed in June was unchanged.

“We were very conservative in our June budget, with it going down $3 million from last year,” Hitchcock said. “We don’t see any reason to change it.”

The proposed measure clocked in at $44.73 million, more than $3 million less than the 2011 budget of $47.85 million. In 2008, the city spent $50.39 million. It spent $45.85 million in 2009 and $40.17 million in 2010.

The budget is expected to be read for the first time during the Dec. 12 council meeting and for a second time during the Dec. 26 council meeting. The measure is expected to be passed during the Jan. 9 council meeting.

“The reason we cannot bring it in November and pass it is because it cannot be passed until the operating year,” Hitchcock said. “There are several days we don’t have a budget to operate on and that’s why it’s done as an emergency. A lot of people don’t understand it but emergency only waves the last 30 days after the third reading.”

The next meeting of the St. Marys City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 28 at the city building located along East Spring Street.