Trent Williams updates City Council on income tax collections and fund balances

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Portsmouth City Auditor Trent Williams brought Portsmouth City Council up to speed Monday night on the latest financial figures including tax collections and fund balances.

The total General Fund income tax revenue for the month of February was $848,820, down $131,715 from the same month in 2016, but sill up $316,164 overall for the first two months compared to the same period in 2016.

“That is an example of how the tax revenue sometimes fluctuates, largely dependent on when a taxpayer might pay, whether they paid last or this year on maybe the first day of one month or the last day,” Williams said. “That affects the monthly collection as compared to the year before and the month before.”

Last month Williams reported the city was up $5,000 over last year, then the February figures dipped to $131,715.

“It still brings for the year a positive total $316,000 over last year, but it just fluctuates from month to month and year to year depending on when those were collected,” Williams said. “I just wanted to point that out as an example that you can’t just take one month and be ecstatic about a half-million dollars in collections because it could drop that much next month.”

The tax revenue from the new income tax increase was $116,510 for February.

The total income tax collections for February were $965,329. The total tax (including both General and Capital Funds) were negative $161,289, still up $312,474 over the same month last year.

When one looks at the fund balances, the Sewer Fund continues to stand out like a sore thumb. That fund is now $1,577,233 in the hole compared to $1,044,623 in 2016. All other funds are in the black. The General Fund stands at $2,123,893, up $1,679,591 over last years numbers – $444,302.

The Daily Times made an inquiry of Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen as to what process is in place to attempt to get the fund in the black again.

“There is a rate increase expected in May 2017. The rates were amended in May of 2016. Staffing remains constant and there are no plans to add personnel,” Allen said. “The problem continues to be mandated activities by USEPA through the administrative order of consent (AOC). In addition, we continue to have sewer and manhole collapses and these are very expensive.”

The Street Fund is at $203,878 compared to $48,434 last year.

The Water Fund shows a balance of $215,897, down $73,133 from last year’s $289,030.

The Sanitation Fund is at $333,848, down $265,865 from last year when it stood at $599,713.

The Insurance Fund, which at one point threatened to balloon out of control, now has a balance of $1,405,645, up $1,478,490 over last year’s deficit total of $72,845.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.