Municipalities Watch Tax Receipts

ST. MARYS — At the halfway point of the year, local municipalities are continuing to watch income tax receipts before tackling big-ticket items.

Through June, the city of St. Marys is approximately $2,000 ahead of last year’s receipts. However, the gap narrowed with a weak June that saw the city sag behind 2010’s figures. In June, the city collected a total of $276,265.64 — down from $331,651.84 the previous year. To date, the city has collected $1.977 million in income taxes, up from $1.975 in 2010. The figure also is more than the $1.899 million collected in 2009.

“That’s the reason we budget the way we do,” St. Marys Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock told The Evening Leader. “We’ve budgeted off the previous year’s revenue and for 2011, we are really close to what we were in 2010, so our projections have been pretty true.”

Until June, the city surpassed the previous year’s receipts for the past several months. Hitchcock said it is difficult to predict how collections will turn out from month to month.

“It has varied so much the last three years,” Hitchcock said. “One month you are high and one month you are lower. It’s hard to predict what you are going to do. You think things are going better in 2011 and then you have a month like you had in June.”

Administrators recently unveiled the proposed 2012 budget for the city. While the measure will change until it is approved in November, Hitchcock said he planned to remain conservative with projections.

“So far it hasn’t really impacted us because we aren’t lower on revenue than we were in 2010 and that’s what we budgeted off of,” Hitchcock said. “It doesn’t look like our budget will change much for 2012. If we see this continue to get lower than 2010, we will have to review it.”

In New Bremen, Village Administrator Wayne York said the village’s coffers have recovered from the previous years. However, he said he planned to watch receipts carefully before taking on large projects.

“Our income tax receipts are up strong,” York said. “Our local industry seemed to have recovered better than the national situation.”

York said increasing receipts has allowed the village to undertake a pair of capital improvement projects — the reconstruction of Bear Drive and the Walnut Street sanitary sewer system.

“That’s the worst sewer in town,” York said. “Part is collapsing and we’ve had several sink holes and one car got stuck in a washout. We’ve had some really good, competitive bids on this and because of the urgency, we decided to go ahead.”

For next year, York said administrators planned to wait until June 30 to gauge the village’s income tax receipts before embarking on another project. The strategy, York said, has worked for the past several years.

“We will see where we are at — we’ve done the same thing ever since the recession hit,” York said. “By spring, there will be a couple of things we will know we will be safe to do and will go ahead with those, like the Walnut Street sewer this year. There will have some iffy projects and we will wait again until June 30 and make a decision in early July.”