Mar. 16, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

The city is making revenue forecasts for 2020 in preparation for the upcoming budget process. Chris Clubine, management analyst, presented a report to the city council’s finance and budget committee to let them know what to expect.

The report shows forecasted revenues in fiscal year 2020 with an increase of 1.6 percent (about $1.1 million) over current projected numbers for the current fiscal year 2019. The forecast also represents a 3.96 percent increase (or about $2.8 million) over the 2019 budget.

The total 2020 revenue forecast is about $74.6 million, up from 2019 projected revenues of $73.4 million.

That forecasted growth includes a 3.5 percent increase in sales tax over recent projections for 2019. Councilmember Bob Johnson, the committee’s chair, was nervous about that number, citing concerns about where the economy might be going in the next year.

“It is a difficult task to estimate where we think we’ll be 18 months ahead, because that’s essentially what we’re doing,” Nick Edwards, assistant city manager, agreed.

Clubine noted that looking back to 2005, the city has never seen back-to-back years of sales tax growth higher than 5 percent. With 2019 sales tax numbers projected to 7.78 percent growth, city staff felt that the 3.5 percent figure was appropriate.

Clubine’s presentation also included a look at forecasts for the city’s other largest revenue generators, including property taxes and franchise taxes. Property taxes are forecasted to see about 3.3 percent growth over 2019 projected numbers, while franchise tax revenues are likely to decrease about 2 percent. That decrease is keeping with the trend the city has seen over the last several years, primarily attributed to dropping revenues for telephone. Natural gas, electric and cable TV have remained relatively flat.

“I think this is an outstanding report,” Johnson said, thanking Clubine and city staff for their work on preparing the information.

The forecasted numbers will continue to be refined as more information is received and city staff continues to work through the budget planning process with each department.

The city manager’s budget presentation to the committee will take place on Thursday, April 18. Johnson encouraged the committee members to keep the report handy.

Councilmember Trish Caryle was absent from the Mar. 13 meeting.