McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 13, 2013

Revenues and spending under-budget for city of McAlester

From staff reports
Staff report

McALESTER — To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times, as far as the mid-year budget review for the city of McAlester went Tuesday night.

On the debit side, city revenues fell under-budget, meaning city revenue collections were short of where they were projected to be at mid-point for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year.

However, in the other column, city expenditures were also under-budget, which means the city has not spent as much as projected when the current budget had been adopted.

That’s according to figures supplied to the McAlester City Council by City Manager Pete Stasiak during the Mid-Year Budget Review, which is required by the City Charter.

“It’s not good that we’re under-budget in revenue. It’s good that we’re under-budget in expenditures,” Stasiak told the council.

The current fiscal year started July 1, 2012, and extends through June 30, 2013.

“Our total revenue is down about $279,000 for the year,” said Stasiak, rounding off the $278,990  figure.

Later, he contrasted the difference between the projected revenue as well as the projected expenditures as way of summarizing the picture for the council. Total expenditures by all city departments are $462,822 under what had had been budgeted, according to the mid-year budget review.

“We’re $279,000 under-budget in revenues, and $462,000 under in our expenditures, so we have a little bit of a cushion,” Stasiak said.

That’s not by coincidence. City department heads started looking at ways to cut expenditures once it became clear the revenues were going to fall short.

The mid-year review does not actually reflect the figures for the first six months of the current fiscal year. Stasiak said in order to have the numbers ready for the presentation, the city had to “draw a line in the sand” to start getting the figures together. The numbers actually extend through November 30, not December 30, which would be the precise mid-point of the city’s fiscal year.

With those numbers compiled, the last five months have seen a decrease in sales tax revenue by the city, Stasiak said.

For example, the city had budgeted $3,475,403 in sales tax returns based on collections from July 1 through Nov. 30, 2012.

The number of actual sales tax revenue for that time period totaled $3,295,215, however. That means the city had $180,188 less in sales returns than had been budgeted for July 1 through Nov. 30, 2012, according to city documents.

Sales tax collections and returns normally lag behind the month when the disbursements are sent to the city by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, with the latest numbers the city had available reflecting sales tax collections in October.

Stasiak is hopeful the sales tax collections which will reflect the Christmas shopping season, including “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, will reflect a brighter financial picture for the city when those numbers are released by the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

If they don’t, more cuts in expenditures by the city could be in place.

A portion of the current $462,822 cut in expenditures came from cutting the amount spent on materials and supplies for the first five months of the fiscal year.


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