By Frank Lewis
If there is one word that describes the city of Portsmouth’s Cash Position Report, it is — according to City Auditor Trent Williams — “flat.”
Williams told the Daily Times the city’s General Fund through May, compared to the same month last year, is down $65,000. However, the cumulative numbers for the January through May period shows the city down only $880.
“That was just General Fund from the income tax,” Williams said. “Because our tax income goes into the General Fund and the Capital Improvement Fund (CIP), the city collected $76,000 less than last May, and $1,298 less through May 31, 2015, compared to through May 31, 2014.”
Williams said the Capital Improvement Fund is down by $11,000 – the difference between the reduction of $76,000 overall and the reduction of $65,000 from the General Fund alone.
“Income tax just fluctuates up and down from month to month each year. It depends on, especially employers, when they pay their taxes,” Williams said. “Sometimes they’ll pay it on May 30 and sometimes they’ll pay it on June 1.”
Williams said, because of the fluctuation, the same set of numbers could possibly be up in June.
“Typically on a year-to-year basis, it always increases at least by a little bit,” Williams said. “We have only been down, since the inception of the income tax in about 1960, three years. That is three years where we collected less than the previous year. So we’re down $1,298 from last year, and on a $12 million collection is basically nothing, so we’re basically flat.”
The city remains in fiscal watch status, placed there by the Auditor of State Dave Yost, but City Manager Derek Allen said, with the passage of the income tax increase, the city should be solvent for the next decade and should be able to be taken off fiscal watch. The increase takes place beginning in January of 2016 and the city will not see the results of that increase until the end of that year.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.