County revenue flat

By Vicki Hyatt | Apr 25, 2014
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt Haywood County commissioners and the county's management team met in a work session last week to consider the upcoming budget, which must be approved no later than June 30.

Despite a seemingly improved national economy, the county is looking at a flat revenue picture and a tough budgeting time when it comes to planning the 2014-15 fiscal year budget.

During a recent county commissioner work session, County Finance Officer Julie Davis told the board projected revenues are about $400,000 in arrears, and revenues for the coming year don’t paint a much rosier picture.

The county expected to receive $39. 6 million in property tax revenue, and while taxes were due by the first of the year, only 96.1 percent has been collected.

So far this fiscal year, less than half the projected $11.75 million in sales tax revenue has been collected, which is down only slightly from last year, Davis said.

An unusual pattern for the past two years, she noted, is that sales tax revenues have been higher in October than in December, a turnaround from previous times.

Davis said she isn't overly alarmed by the shortfall year-to-date, but called an overall $400,000 revenue shortfall "a bit problematic."

On the bright side, building activity in Haywood, based on permits issued in February and March, show an uptick, and when Duke LifePoint Healthcare purchases the current nonprofit hospital and affiliated holdings in Haywood, sales taxes will be collected.

Statewide, a 3 to 4 percent increase from sales taxes is projected, but Davis is projecting a 5.2 percent increase in Haywood.

"That reflects the hospital tax they generally get back," Davis said. "In addition to that, Amazon now charges sales tax to the point of delivery, so we should see a boost from that."