Budget revenues on upswing

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Several city budget funds are matching or exceeding expectations based on an Aug. 19 report delivered to Arvada City Council.

Arvada’s general fund, the city’s largest fund, began the year with a budget of $22.9 million.

Lisa Yagi, the interim director of finance, said she expects the general fund balance to still be $18.3 million at the end of the year.

“Our revenues are on pace to exceed our original budget and, on the expenditure side, our salaries, wages and benefits — the largest expenditure in the general fund — are tracking with our budget estimates so we feel pretty comfortable with that and shouldn’t have any problems meeting our expenditures for 2013.”

Sales tax, the city’s largest source of revenue in the general fund, has increased for 2013 through June compared to same period in 2012.

“Through June, our sales tax is about 5.5 percent over the same time last year,” Yagi said. “So things are looking good.”

The major sales tax areas — grocery stores, general department stores and utilities — are showing healthy increases, Yagi said.

“The only category we don’t have a lot of control over is utilities and that is totally weather dependent,” she said. “Since we had a warm spring, our sales tax in the utility category has increased since the same time last year.

Earlier in the year, appropriations for $3.6 million in carryovers were approved for the general fund.

“In April, we came to council and received approval to appropriate carryovers of monies for unused projects, the largest is the money we are going to set aside for Gold Line improvements, which is $2.5 million,” Yagi said.

“That $2.5 million came from revenues that exceeded our budget in 2012 and then we also had budgeted expenditures that we did not spend.”

Building revenues have also seen an increase this year.

“Building revenues have increased faster than we anticipated when we did the budget for 2013 in 2011,” Yagi said.

“Our building permit and building use taxes are on pace to exceed our budget. We’ve got 233 permits through this year and last year at this time it was 157, so we’re really on pace to have a really good year as far as building use tax and permits are concerned.”

The auto use tax is also currently at a 5.9 percent increase over 2012.

The golf fund is, as of now, behind where it was this time last year.

“The story behind this is 2012 was a dry winter and dry spring, enabling the golf course to be up and operating at full capacity immediately,” said controller Bryan Archer with the city’s finance department. “They were able to generate tons and tons of rounds early on in 2012.”

In 2013, Colorado experienced a wet spring with snow through May, which prevented the golf courses from opening and being fully operational until late May or early June.

“We’ve been trailing rounds up to 25 percent throughout this year, but we were catching up in June,” Archer said. “It’s good to see a lower difference and it was the best June since 2008 as far as rounds go. Overall, with July and August, rounds are improving.”

Operation expenditures are on par with the 2013 budget, though the capital and administrative costs have increased since 2012.

“These are both related to the expansion and completion of the cart barn and the lease for electric carts,” Archer said. “What you’ll see later on is there is an increase in the course’s electric, but a comparable decrease in gas.”

Though the golf fund varies from last year’s budget, it is on par to meet this year’s expected budget.

The entire mid-year financial report and other financial reports are available at www.arvada.org/financial-updates.

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