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Roanoke City Sales Tax Revenue Improves

September was the “first month of positive performance since November of 2008,” said Ann Shawver, Roanoke City’s Director of Finance. This follows news that the September meals tax increased 2.6% over September 2009. Overall the meals tax has increased slightly at .5% for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011 compared to 2010.

The conservative projection for the 2% increase in the meals tax earmarked for Roanoke City Public Schools is going swimmingly at over $1 million for the first quarter. A healthy 3.3% over projections.

With sluggish sales in July and August the first quarter sales tax for fiscal year 2011 comes in at a positive 1.59% over the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. Though Shawver cautiously refers to it as “improved but not substantially improved” it gives some comfort as the Commonwealth and Roanoke look for the economic upturn.

A close watch on revenue stability with hopeful signs of improvement can give some measure of optimism when council begins budget discussions for fiscal year 2012.

Shawver stressed that the first calculation of 1.8% had to be adjusted for “some unusual corrections taking place from the Commonwealth from errors made in past months’ payments.” The corrections were large and nonrecurring. There was also unusually high activity in the construction and utility area this fiscal year compared to fiscal year 2010 to consider.

Shawver said that when removing “both of those items our YTD change from prior year was slightly improved but not substantially improved at (1.59%). This tells us that the nonrecurring items I mentioned above turned out to more-or-less offset one another.”

“I am glad to see a bit of positive improvement in the sales tax revenue,” commented Shawver.

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