The headline is ominous. "Sales Tax Revenues Lag." Especially when sales tax is not a favored revenue stream by those writing the headline.
However, having been involved in budgets and having covered budgets, an observation is offered, and not so much on the story linked but the topic in general.
An audit of recent City finances shows a $370,000 shortfall in revenue, mostly the result of sales tax slightly underperforming. OMG !. Well hold off.
In the same fiscal year, expenses in the general fund were $1,700,000 UNDER budget.
Budgets are estimates of revenue and expenses, and the difference becomes the property tax levy.
In the case of the City budget I mentioned, there had been a $1.6M appropriation of so called fund balance, which in the city's general fund now amounts to $9.8M.
At the time of appropriation the argument was made that this was onerous, however the end result of the actual FY showed $300,000 used from fund balance. Again, budgets are based on certain assumptions and over the course of a year and $50M, it's not unusual to have variances in the aggregate of a couple million dollars. It's the same as your household income.
The public seldom hears the whole story as it's not easily fit in 50 seconds on TV. It's portrayed like fund balance is a finite bucket of money from which a defined amount was removed.
Such things are more dynamic, and I have noticed when you try to say that a meetings, you get beat down in favor of simple nuggets that fit better in print or on air.
Watertown Daily Times | St. Lawrence County sees $3 million shortfall in 2015 sales tax revenues