Despite lower than expected fourth-quarter sales tax revenues for 2012, Jamestown City Council remains cautiously optimistic about 2013.
The city received its fourth-quarter sales tax payment for 2012 in the amount of $1,420,085. This was a decrease of $41,123 from fourth-quarter 2011, but the 2012 total still saw a 1.62 percent increase over 2011.
"We stayed pretty close to our 10-year average sales tax revenue increase, despite the ups and downs," said Joe Bellito, city comptroller. "As we look towards 2013, our sales tax budget is set at $5,775,000. Even today, I was reading a lot of positive things about the national economy, so my hope is that these good things continue to trickle down to the local level."
The city's 2013 adopted sales tax budget is $5,775,000. This budget amount is approximately 0.2 percent less than the total sales tax that Jamestown received during 2012.
"If the economic conditions stay the same, we should be able to hit our number for 2013," said Vince DeJoy, D-Ward 4. "Of course, that's assuming that there won't be any other emergencies in Washington. If we can get the federal government to stay out of crisis mode with fiscal cliffs and other things that dilute the confidence of the consumer, we'll be in good shape."
Another concern of the council for 2013 is the recent payroll tax hike.
"I'm sure the public was concerned about what was going to happen in January," said Tony Dolce, R-Ward 2. "It makes me curious how much the fiscal cliff reaction played into the fourth-quarter sales tax numbers. The other concern that I have is obviously the 2 percent cut that we all received in our pay. The payroll tax cut is a significant amount of money for people, and that will most likely have an impact. It doesn't matter if it's 2 percent of a small amount or 2 percent of a large amount, it's still 2 percent across the board, so I'll be interested to see how that affects spending."
Following the discussion regarding sales tax, members of City Council turned the questioning to Mayor Sam Teresi in order to see how the search for a new director of development was coming. According to Teresi, the search is coming to a close, with a possibility for a candidate to be named at Thursday's meeting of the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency.
"We've reached out to several prospective candidates and have had several referrals for the position as well," said Teresi. "We'll be reaching a conclusion soon, and I'll be reporting to the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency and City Council members in the next couple of days. JURA will be meeting on Thursday for their annual reorganization meeting, and this is an item that is on the agenda for discussion."
The City Council then met in an executive session to discuss possible litigation.