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Mar 17 2011

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Municipal sales taxes remain steady

The state comptroller reports that Tyler’s sales tax revenues deposited so far for March have jumped 1.38% over those of precisely a year ago.
Over this period the cumulative increase is 3.43%.  The reported amount of $2,525,125.45 is made up of $1,683,416.97 in general sales tax revenue and $841,708.48 in half-cent sales tax revenues.  Because of the two-month lag between when taxes are reported and when they are remitted from the city back to the state these figures represent figures from this past January.  City Manager Mark McDaniel explained the change.
“During this same month in 2010 we saw a 4.19% decrease and were running 9.49% down for the year,” he said.  “To say we are pleased with the recovery this year would be an understatement.”
He also commented on how the 2% increase in sales tax revenue for 2010-2011 is a good sign for the fiscal year’s approaching midpoint.
“We are watching gas prices closely as well as the state budget process,” he said.  “For the first half of the fiscal year the city was under budget on our gas expenditures.  However, as gas prices have risen, we are edging closer to the budget threshold.  Should prices continue to rise we will be implementing additional conservation activities and possibly looking to biodiesel to control our costs.”
Budget cuts at the state level are another consideration.  So far this fiscal year Tyler has received more than $1.1 million in state funding.  Of this amount $722,000 came from federal grants passed through the state.  Still, such funding represents just 1.2% of the Rose City’s operating budget.  A potential end to these grants would not precipitate staffing decreases, but could cause an unfunded mandate.
“We have worked diligently to balance our budget and make the cuts needed to stay within our means through these tough economic times,” said McDaniel.  “Mandates to continue state programs with local resources could be devastating to city budgets.”
Tyler froze more than 125 positions at midterm in 2010, delayed capital expenditures, renegotiated contracts, started a Lean Sigma efficiency program, limited salary adjustments and took other steps towards stabilizing civic economy.
“Because we have no general obligation debt and pay cash for most capital improvement projects, we are able to respond to changing financial conditions,” McDaniels said.  “Thanks to our Blueprint, Called to Serve, and Lean Sigma programs, Tyler has maintained its culture of continuous improvement for greater efficiencies.”

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