Busy but numbers still low

Published 7:39 pm Friday, May 10, 2013

Numbers for the sales tax income in the city are still down, way down, from where they were this time last year, said Selma Mayor George Evans.

At Thursday’s Selma City Council work session, Evans delivered an unofficial financial report to the council that showed the month of April down $45,000 in sales tax revenue from April 2012.

Several council members questioned why the increased occupancy fee that contributes to the Selma and Dallas County YMCA only generated $11,000. Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan Keith and Ward 4 Councilwoman Angela Benjamin asked why numbers were down during Jubilee, when every hotel was reportedly booked.

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“I just don’t understand it, it’s a mystery to me right now,” Evans said about the continued bad reports for the sales taxes. “There is something not working and we have asked [Revenue Discovery Systems] to do what they can to try and help us find that flaw.”

The city has hosted more events in the last two years, yet 2012 and 2013 both show losses from 2011.

Evans said the county reports their sales tax revenues are up by 20 percent, another reason why he feels the numbers should show gains. In April, the six-month mark of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Evans told the council revenues in total were down $186,943. With the preliminary numbers for this month, that could mean a total loss of $231,943.

“We saw there are more than 100 businesses that are showing small decreases of $20 or $30, and it could just be those all add up and it’s a dollar here, dollar there kind of loss,” Evans said. “But it’s still a mystery to me right now.”

Evans implemented a hiring freeze in the city and put other programs like the Summer Youth Employment Program on a pending status until the conditions of the revenue begin to improve or if a problem in the revenue reporting is discovered.