City revenues less than expected in 2009

Published on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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Revenues from the city’s sales, tourism and real estate excise taxes are far less than anticipated in the 2009 budget, city officials announced last month.

Blaine finance director Jeff Lazenby said the details of the city of Blaine’s August 2009 key economic indicators report found that all revenue sources are less than predicted in the 2009 budget.

As of August, the city received  only 59 percent in retail sales and use tax – or $695,000  of the $776,000 – that was predicted in the 2009 budget.

Lazenby, however, said those figures could catch up during the rest of the year.

 “It could actually spike a little bit because some of the tax revenue such as hotel and motel tax, there is a two month lag in what we receive from the state.”

Revenues from the city’s one-cent gas tax, meanwhile, were nearly 30 percent less than last year with the city collecting $53,000 from $67,000 last year.

“A lot of that is a decrease in border traffic,” Lazenby said, adding that he couldn’t comment whether there was any correlation to recent passport requirements as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

The biggest drop was in the city’s real estate excise tax which dropped 73 percent from last year with the city collecting $108,000 as opposed to $188,957.

The city’s hotel and motel tax was another big loser with a 38 percent drop in revenue, or $110,000 from last year’s $154,000.

Two revenue streams that were on target were utility bills and money from traffic violation fines, which were at 94 percent of what was predicted in the 2009 budget, Blaine police chief Mike Haslip said.