A mid-year county finance report shows an increase in revenue in terms of total funds through the end of 2012, compared to the end of 2011, but a drop in the percentage of the fiscal year budget collected.
Finance officer David Clack ran through several numbers, a prelude to an audit that is expected to be presented in the near future. The figures will be referenced and utilized when the Sampson County Board of Commissioners meets for its three-day planning session next month.
“We wanted to give you a review of where we stand right now versus where we stood Dec. 31, 2011,” said county finance officer David Clack during a recent meeting. “What this represents is all of the General Fund, Social Services, debt service funds, Health Department, Department of Aging, the larger operating funds of the county.”
As far as revenues, Clack said the amounts collected for property taxes and sales taxes, while higher at this point compared to last year, are similarly budgeted to be higher — meaning that in most cases, it is even or a drop in percentage collected for the entire fiscal year.
Clack pointed to ad valorem taxes, in which $22.71 million has been collected of the roughly $31.43 million budgeted for 2012-13. That is compared to $21.81 million collected at the end of 2011 of the $30.13 million budgeted for 2011-12. While that means in excess of $900,000 has been collected this year over 2011-12’s mid-year amount, the numbers show a slight drop in the overall percentage taking in to this point, at 72.26 percent this year compared with 72.39 percent last year.
“Collections are not quite what they were, but the budget is a lot higher too,” said Clack. “In all, we’ve collected about $902,000 more than we had the same time last year, which is good. It shows our Tax Office is really going after the property taxes and people are paying.”
Regarding sales tax, the numbers are in line with the previous year, but similar show a small boost over the prior year numbers.
“We’ve collected about $65,000 more this year than last year, and we’re right in line where we should probably collect more than what we budgeted, but should have no problem collected what we did budget,” said Clack.
Through Dec. 31, $1.73 million of a budgeted $6.94 million has been collected, compared to $1.66 million of a budgeted $6.58 million last year. The numbers come to $65,281 more this year thus far, but again a small decline in the overall percentage collected to the same point — 24.87 percent of the total budgeted this year, compared with 25.22 percent last year.
Clack also highlighted jail fees and ambulance fees.
“Jail fee (collections) are down from last year, but the jail has collected in excess of its entire budget,” said Clack. “Right now, they’re at 103 percent of their entire budgeted revenues. Last year at this time, they were at 110 percent. So, that should show a good surplus before the end of the year.”
As with the property and sales tax numbers, the decline in collections does not translate to less dollars, but a lesser percentage of the overall budgeted amount. For the current 2012-13 budget, jail fees were budgeted at $584,100. As of the end of 2012, $604,106 had been collected. In 2011-12, the budgeted amount was just $440,000, and $485,686 had been collected by the end of 2011.
So, while the numbers show a 6.75 percent drop in collections, there has actually been a rise of $118,000 in collections.
One area that will continue to be monitored, Clack said, was ambulance fees, which have dropped significantly from last year’s budget in both the amount collected and in percentage of the overall budgeted amount.
In 2011-12, there was $744,496 collected of $2.58 million, nearly 29 percent. This year, the county has seen just $592,950 of that same budgeted amount. It is a drop of $151,546, or nearly 6 percent.
“I think the call volume is down a little bit,” said Clack. “We’re going to continue to monitor that and see. That is the one that is down and we’re not exactly sure why. The only one I’m continuing to monitor closely is ambulance fees.”
An increase in total revenues, but a decrease in the percent of the budgeted amount collected, was a trend that was ultimately reflected in the mid-year numbers.
“In total, overall revenues, we’ve collected about ($485,000) more than we did last year at this time,” said Clack, “but as it compares to budget, it’s about 1.33 percent less on budget.”
Clack said a full audit would be presented during the board’s upcoming planning session, slated for Feb. 11-13. The numbers could be crunched, and discussed, further during that session and questions could be asked at any time, he noted.
Commissioner Jefferson Strickland said he appreciated the work done to give commissioners a look at the halfway point of budget revenues and expenditures, and how it compared to the previous year. The numbers, he said, will only assist as the board enters its planning session next month.
“I think it’s a real timely piece of information to have.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.