The recent talk of an economic downturn doesn’t seem to have tamped down the expectations of local government administrators – particularly not when it comes to their forecasts for sales tax receipts in the new fiscal year.
During the first week of May, officials in both Burlington and Mebane released recommended spending plans that anticipated some rather brisk growth in the local levy on sales. In Mebane, for instance, city manager Chris Rollins has foreseen increase of 29.6 percent over the current year’s sales tax receipts.
Meanwhile, Burlington’s interim manager David Cheek predicted an increase of 26 percent over the current year’s haul.
Graham’s city council received a somewhat more modest forecast from city manager Megan Garner when she unveiled her proposed budget for the city about two weeks ago.
In her revenue projections, Garner didn’t include a separate line item for sales tax receipts – which she, instead, lumped in to the broader category of “unrestricted intergovernmental revenues.” Garner nevertheless acknowledged that sales taxes accounted for $812,300 of the $814,700 which she expects to add to this category over and above the current year’s figure of $5,242,300.
According to the city’s finance department, the anticipated sales tax receipts for the new fiscal year amount to $4,855,000 – an increase of 20.1 percent over the current budget’s original projection of $4,042,700.
Since Garner unveiled her budget to Graham’s city council, Alamance County’s interim manager Sherry Hook has released a proposed spending plan for the county that features a sales tax projection more in line with the estimates in Mebane and Burlington.
In her presentation to the board of commissioners two weeks ago, Hook envisioned a sales tax haul of $45,813,469 – an increase of $9,883,069, or about 27.51 percent, over the figure in the county’s current annual budget.
Hook assured the commissioners that her optimistic forecast for sales taxes was based on good solid data about sales tax receipts in the current financial cycle.
“We are looking at projected numbers for this fiscal year,” she went on to elaborate when she presented her budget. “We have nine months of data that show us well above where we were this time last year…and we took that number and multiplied it by 4.5 percent to get our new tax revenue number [for the forthcoming year].”
Hook’s sunny outlook was nevertheless dampened a bit when commissioner Bill Lashley warned his colleagues to expect a dip in the national economy later this year. Lashley’s thread was then picked up by John Paisley, Jr., the chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners, who cautioned the board to brace itself for a reduction in revenues as the economy worsens.
“And we are concerned about a decrease in sales taxes revenues with the upcoming budget,” he went on to assert.