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Sales taxes up 5 percent in Rifle

The city of Rifle reported that total sales, use and lodging tax revenues for the five months ending May 31 was $3.4 million, a 5 percent increase from the previous year’s $3.25 million.

Sales tax revenues were $3 million, 2 percent more than previous year’s $2.9 million. Building and motor vehicle use tax revenues were $353,000, and 39 percent higher than the previous year’s $255,000. Lodging tax revenues were $38,000, 6 percent lower than the previous year’s $40,600.

City Finance Director Charles Kelty offers the following answers to several questions:

How would you characterize May’s revenues? Can you identify any factors that led to this outcome?

Overall, I was a little disappointed with the May sales tax figures. I am pleased with the 5 percent increase over May of 2013, which puts us at an increase year-to-date of 2 percent. However, I was hoping for a higher increase for the month of May. It would be nice to regain, faster, a little of the revenues we lost in prior years due to the recession.

The following categories were higher than last year: bars and restaurants (4 percent); car parts and sales (40 percent); food (13 percent); hardware (15 percent); lease/misc. (doubled). The categories that surprised me the most are car parts and sales and leasing and miscellaneous vendors.

The following categories were lower than last year: Liquor (15 percent); motels (32 percent); oil and gas (28 percent); and utilities (1 percent).

Where does this leave the city in terms of revenue received vs. budgeted? Where do expenses stand?

Below are a few excerpts for the May 2014 financial report I provided City Council on July 16:

General fund – Total revenues were $3.1 million, which compared to the prior year’s $2.8 million and was $352,000 and 13 percent higher. Expenditures were $3 million, which was just $19,000 less than last year.

Parks & Recreation fund – Total revenues were $966,000, which compared to the prior year’s $935,000 and was $31,000 and 3 percent higher. Expenditures were $850,000, compared to last year’s $911,000 and $59,000 and 6 percent less.

Street Improvement fund – Total revenues were $557,000, which compared to the prior year’s $443,000 and was $114,000 and 26 percent higher. Expenses were $79,000, compared to last year’s $156,000 and $78,000 and 50 percent lower.

Water fund – Revenues were $1.6 million, which compared to the prior year’s $1.5 million and was $72,000 and 5 percent higher. Expenses were $1.7 million, while last year’s were $1 million and $641,000 and 60 percent higher. The primary reason for the increase in costs is the new water treatment plant debt payments made in January.

Wastewater fund – Revenues were $1.1 million, versus the prior year’s $1 million and $37,000 and 4 percent higher. Expenses were $1 million, versus the prior year and $63,000 and 6 percent lower.


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