Tracking cities’ financial health, part 2

INDIAN SPRINGS

Indian Springs is unusual because unlike other Shelby County municipalities, the town does not charge sales tax.

Because of this, when other municipalities lost a major revenue stream when sales slowed in reaction to the down economy, Indian Springs didn’t miss a step, according to Jack Mendel, the town’s financial officer and a member of the town council.

“We’re in probably better shape per year now than we were about 10 years ago,” he said.

Mendel said most of Indian Springs’ revenue comes from utility franchise fees paid by companies that serve the town’s residents, such as Alabama Power, Alagasco and Pelham Water Works. The town also gets revenue from business license fees, building permits, alcoholic beverage taxes and other sources, Mendel said.

As the Indian Springs population grows, those revenue streams also grow, Mendel said.

Indian Springs is expected to bring in about $300,000 in total revenue for fiscal year 2012. That projection follows closely with fiscal year 2011, in which the town brought in $306,000 in revenue and only spent $192,000.

Mendel said Indian Springs is where it should be with budget projections so far in fiscal year 2012.

“We’re right on track. The town has no debt, and we run a surplus,” Mendel said. “We donate some of that surplus to Shelby County schools.”

Mendel said the town is able to keep costs down because it has no full-time employees and is more focused on preserving the environment and semi-rural feel instead of continually growing.

“From what we know and what the auditors tell us, we’re in exceptionally good position,” Mendel said.