Monday, June 27, 2011

Money for Parks

A few weeks Mayor Bach stated he was a strong supporter of City Parks and had instructed staff to find an additional $800,000 for watering smaller neighborhood parks this summer.  He will, of course, be successful.  The 2011 City Budget has over $223 million in the general fund, so nearly half-way through the year there should be some underspent line items to be tapped.  But is this even necessary?

I thought I would take a different look at the revenue numbers.  The city reports sales and use tax receipts on a monthly basis, and has done so for years.  Looking at the figures, the receipts are clearly seasonal.  Over the past six calendar years, the city has consistently collected about 7% of its annual receipts off of January sales.  May sales typically generate about 9.4% of total annual receipts.  These numbers have held true even in the down years of 2008 and 2009.  So, based on historical trends, the first four months of the year typically generate just over 30% of the total receipts for the year. 

Therefore, although we have only four months of receipts for the 2011 budget year, (January receipts are assigned to the year in which the merchants collected the taxes, the prior calendar year) it is possible to make some projections for the total receipts for 2011.  The model projects the city will receive about $120,500,000 in sales tax receipts for 2011.  The budgeted figure is $117,500,000; the city should have sales tax receipts in excess of budget by about $3,000,000.

Mayor Bach will have the money to spend on parks without having to raid anyone’s budget.

Now, will it matter?  It is now the end of June.  Much of the grass is already dead.

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