Pelham tax revenues ‘better than expected’ for 2013

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pelham saw an increase in tax collections in 2013 compared to 2012. (Contributed)

Pelham saw an increase in tax collections in 2013 compared to 2012. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham’s tax revenues came in better than expected to end the city’s 2013 fiscal year on Sept. 30, according to city Finance Director Tom Seale.

Overall, the city’s tax revenues were up about 6.8 percent over the 2012 fiscal year, signifying a positive direction for the city’s economy, Seale said after briefing city leaders on the numbers during an Oct. 1 budget work session.

“We finished better than expected in several revenue areas,” Seale told Mayor Gary Waters and City Council members during the work session. “I am very encouraged by the numbers.”

At the end of the 2013 fiscal year, Pelham’s sales tax revenues were up nearly 6 percent over the previous year, while the city’s lodging tax was up about 11.2 percent over the previous year, Seale said.

Seale called sales tax revenues a “good economic indicator” for the city, noting the 1 percent sales tax increase for Pelham’s school fund, which went into effect Sept. 1, is considered separate from the city’s tax revenues.

“This is a gauge of how the economy is improving in Pelham,” Seale said.

Also during the budget hearing, Seale laid out potential costs for purchasing new Christmas decorations to place along U.S. 31 in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Seale said the city’s current lighted snowflakes, which have been placed on light poles along U.S. 31 for decades, are “in bad shape,” and said they are in need of replacement or repair.

It likely would cost the city about $134,000 to purchase new LED snowflakes to place along the highway. Seale said the city’s wreath decorations also are heavily worn.

Last year, the city placed wreaths on every third pole along U.S. 31 during the Christmas season, and placed lighted snowflakes only on major intersections, Seale said.