BY SARAH STEPHENS
In his regular report to Millbrook City Council members this week, Mayor Al Kelley had some positive news to share regarding the city’s finances. This was also the first meeting where all Department Heads were requested to attend, as restrictions on COVID and allowable numbers of people inside the courtroom are beginning to ease.
Halfway through the fiscal year, Kelley said it is important to look at the numbers. They tell a positive story, despite the fact COVID has impacted everyone in some way, and especially area businesses. Many struggled over the past year, and some are still trying to get up to speed.
“Gina Williams (Chief Financial Officer for Millbrook) has done her usual great job giving us a brief glance at our financial situation,” Kelley said.
“The magic number here is 50 percent, as we are 50 percent through our budget year. So, our expenses should be below 50 hopefully, and our revenue should be above 50 hopefully.”
Overall sales/lodging tax revenue for the month of March was up compared to this time last year by 17 percent. “Remember, March sales/lodging tax is received during the month of April,” Kelley said.
*Fiscal year sales tax from the grocery stores is up 9 percent compared to this time last year.
*Online sales tax is up 48 percent through this time last year.
“The online sales tax is one that blows my mind. Online sales tax is out of sight. When I first saw these numbers a year ago, I thought this is fantastic. “Every time you go (online to purchase items) on Amazon or Walmart, etc. we get the sales tax from that,” Kelley said.
In looking at the City’s main sources of revenue for March 2021, and the monthly comparison which is 50 percent for March, the following was noted:
*Ad Valorem Realty tax is at 98 percent of the budgeted amount.
“The reason that is so high is they are all due the first part of the year. So, we are pretty much through with that,” Kelley said.
*Gasoline Distributor Tax is at 50 percent.
*Lodging tax is at 37 percent.
“Lodging tax is still low, but it is low everywhere. That is because of the Pandemic, but things are picking up.”
*Municipal Court Fines and Costs are at 59 percent.
“(Municipal Court) Judge Lynn Bright is doing a great job,” Kelley said.
*Sales tax is at 54 percent.
*Business license is at 98 percent.
Rescue charges are at 55 percent.
“Millbrook Fire Chief is doing well with expenses,” Kelley said.
The Pines Golf Course revenues are at 39 percent.
“We have a lot of people that don’t want to share a cart. They want their own cart. We made a lot of allowances for people (with COVID concerns) and that is part of the reason.”
*Utilities, water and sewer are at 50 percent.
The monthly comparative for operating expenses is 50 percent for the month of March 2021.
“The City is doing a good job of monitoring expenses,” Kelley said.
*General Fund operating expenses is at 46 percent of the budget.
*The Pines Golf Course operating expenses are at 42 percent.
*Utilities operating expenses are at 46 percent.
“We are ahead on income quite considerably and below on the expense items because of our department heads. They have done a great job. Financially we are in very sound condition,” Kelley said.