Jackson sales tax up from budget targets
By Ben Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
March 11, 2013
Stronger-than-expected sales tax revenue pushed the town of Jackson one month closer to finishing the fiscal year nearly $200,000 ahead of budget.
The town earned $712,000 in sales tax in January. The funds were distributed last week by the state.
The total represents a 6.4 percent increase from the $643,000 collected during the same month in 2012.
For the fiscal year, which began July 1, the town is $191,000 ahead of budget.
The budget boost would have been even more if town leaders had stayed with their original projections, which estimated sales taxes would increase 3 percent over last fiscal year’s total of $9.32 million.
Jackson officials amended the budget in December to project a 3.9 percent increase in sales tax. If collections hit that target, the town will end the fiscal year in June with $9.68 million in sales tax revenue.
Town Finance Director Kent Meredith said estimates were tweaked to keep year-end funding budget projections accurate.
Through the first nine months of the fiscal year, town sales tax revenue is $482,000 ahead of the same time period last year, a 6.4 percent increase.
Still, this fiscal year has been marked by unsteady tax revenue. Collections for four months came in lower than last year, while five months finished ahead. But significant increases in August and September have led to the current surplus.
Sales tax makes up about two-thirds of the town’s general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations, such as the police department and public works.
If the town ends up well ahead of budget, the excess money will be placed into reserves and can be put toward bonuses, one-time capital projects or equipment purchases.
Last year, the town collected $156,000 in unanticipated revenue.
While Jackson employees haven’t received a raise in nearly five years, they did receive bonuses at the end of December, thanks to strong sales tax revenue and steady expenditures. The bonuses totaled $140,000 for the town’s 95 full-time workers and a handful of part-time employees.