10 percent sales tax growth little help to Silt budget | PostIndependent.com

10 percent sales tax growth little help to Silt budget

SILT ” Sales tax revenues for the town of Silt grew by 10 percent in 2003, but declines in building permit revenues forced the town government to make deep cuts to balance the budget for 2004.

Town manager Rick Aluise said the town laid off a newly hired police officer, the building inspector and one staffer in the public works department.

Building inspection services will now be handled on a contract basis, he said.

Sales tax revenues grew from a total of $211,208 in 2002 to $232,495 collected in 2003, said Aluise. The town levies a 3 percent tax on goods purchased.

The 2003 collections topped the expected sales tax income for 2003 of $215,000. But the town board carried the excess $17,000 into the 2004 budget, which still had to be cut by nearly $200,000, Aluise said.

“This will only continue to help us tread water for 2004,” he said.

The total 2004 budget is now at $1.3 million.

However, building permits are “rebounding dramatically” so far this year, he said. “We’ve had half as many so far this year as in all of 2003.”

Budgeting for the new year also eliminated the town’s long-standing dependence on the water fund. Silt has marked budget deficits dating back to 1997 that were backfilled by taking transfers from the town’s water fund. By 2002, the transfer hit $115,000. Water fund earnings come from the sale of water to residents of the town.

But the town board stopped the transfers in 2003, and Aluise said transfers should not be necessary in the coming years because of the recent staffing cuts.

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