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Lebanon avoids using reserve funds in 2010-2011, sales taxes up $900,000

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By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post

Through a combination of spending cuts and increased revenues, the City of Lebanon reportedly did not have to use any of the $1.8 million budgeted from the reserve fund for the 2010-2011 budget, ending the year around $6,000 to the good according to Commissioner of Finance and Revenue Russell Lee.

The newest figures from the closing of the 2010-2011 fiscal year were given to the Lebanon City Council during a work session held Wednesday afternoon, during which Lee noted sales tax revenues were far greater for the last fiscal year than they anticipated.

We did not have to use any of it, Lee said. That is really good news.

In the last fiscal year, Lee said they budgeted sales tax revenues of $6,850,000 but surpassed that projection by over $900,000. Lee said the city received $7,760,000 in total sales taxes for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Also, for December 2011, Lee pointed out sales tax collections were up by 17 percent and the year-to-date receipts were up by about 8 percent. He said the city has currently exceeded its sales tax receipts for this fiscal year by around $400,000.

This has allowed us to finish with net expenses less than revenues by $6,172, Lee said.

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead said city departments did an excellent job of tightening their budgets and keeping their expenditures in check. Lee noted departments only hired new employees when it was absolutely necessary.

Lee said the city ended with more revenues than expenditures through a combination of cutting spending and the increase in tax revenues.

Thats awesome, you guys did a great job, said Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino. But that just means we have $8.8. million in the I dont know what were doing with the money fund.

Craighead said the reserve fund started with a total balance of $9 million during the 2009-2010 fiscal year. He said they used $200,000 of that money during that fiscal year and may have to use about $1 million budgeted for the current fiscal year.

Through three budget years weve only spent about $1 million of this fund, thats really great, Craighead said.

Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler said the economy must have picked up in the past year to have such a large increase in sales tax revenue compared to the budget projection. He was also complimentary of the department heads that held spending in check during the last fiscal year.

That just shows that it can be done, that we can cut and save, Buhler noted.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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