Tracking cities’ financial health, part 2

MONTEVALLO

Although Montevallo’s sales tax revenue is down about 13 percent during the past four years, the city continued to run without laying anyone off or cutting public services, Mayor Ben McCrory said.

“Our people have stepped up to the plate,” he said. “With great sacrifice to all of us, we maintain city services. We know we’ve improved the cleanliness of our town. We think we’ve improved city services.”

The city absorbed the 13-percent loss — about $200,000 in revenues —through cutbacks. Some city job vacancies have not been filled, but no one has lost his or her job due to the economic downturn.

“We think, maybe, we bottomed out,” McCrory said, as new businesses are moving to the city.

“I am most proud that throughout all of this, we made our budget sacrifices and had some surplus every year. We lived within the constraints of what we couldn’t go over.”

Sales tax, which is the city’s largest single revenue producer, makes up about 40 percent of total revenue. The city’s 2012 budget is just below $3.39 million.

The University of Montevallo is the city’s largest employer, McCrory said.

The City Council voted to increase the city’s general sales and use tax to 4 percent in September 2011, and the funds are earmarked for downtown improvement projects.

“If we revitalize downtown, it’ll help every single business,” McCrory said. “It’ll help us grow. We don’t want the beautiful campus to be offset by the downtown that doesn’t look as good as we think it ought to.”