Today is Monday, December 22, 2014

Shopping at home can help increase city's sales tax revenue

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From Post staff reports

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead urged members of the Lebanon Morning Rotary yesterday to buy locally.

He said the City of Lebanon’s loss in sales tax revenue for the year has been a major issue in the local municipality’s struggle with budget shortfalls.

Craighead told the club that he and members of the city council and city department heads have worked diligently to make as many cuts as possible in city spending.

He said he would welcome new ideas and suggestions from others outside city government on what might be done to help relieve the financial stress city government is facing.

Craighead pointed out that a number of reductions in expenses have already been made. In a printed handout made available to all attending, he showed in a line item form cuts that have been made.

Several of the items listed as being cut or reduced were $1,000 or less while some of the larger items were as much as $20,000 to $30,000 and more. A number of larger departmental reductions were in salaries and employee expenses.

Craighead said his administration has been focused closely on the finance and revenue issues. He said even small changes are resulting in some major savings for the city. He cited a move as an example of having a police officer open the Fox Community Park early in the morning instead of bringing in a park employee. While this may seem like a small step, he said the annual savings for this move amounts to about $5,000.

“They all add up,” he said, explaining that even the smallest of reductions or savings when multiplied can make a difference.

He said thus far the city has managed to identify and reduce the city budget by more than $1 million.

He pointed out that revenue received by the city has been or is budgeted to be reduced in a number of areas with local sales tax receipts topping that list. The forecast for the current fiscal year calls for a loss of some $770,000 in local sales tax funds for the City of Lebanon.

“We need to encourage more people to shop at home,” Craighead pleaded, noting that retail sales in Lebanon are off and therefore so are collections on local sales tax dollars.  

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