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Orrick revenue shortfalls alarming

Orrick city officials are concerned about the city’s general fund and decreased revenues are to blame.
City Clerk Jeanette Hensley told Aldermen Thursday night that she had compiled numbers from Jan. 1, 2008 to May 7, 2008, and compared them to the same time period this year.
In total, the city’s general revenue has declined $17,737 according to Hensley’s figures. Property taxes are more than $5,000 below last year and franchise taxes are more than $7,000 under last year.
City sticker collections are less than half of what they were last year and building permits are more than 70 percent below last year’s total.
City Collector Bobby Joe Wilson said property tax numbers might be skewed because last year some bills collected were two and three years compiled.
“Spending for a month or two needs to be only what is necessary so we can try and build this back up,” Hensley said.
Mayor Marilyn Butler said the city would not replace the departed city nuisance officer as one move to alleviate the general fund.
Another move city officials may make to help the fund is to ask voters to extend the city’s street bond tax to help build up the general fund.
Hensley said the city will make the final payment on the bond in the fall and that the tax will be unnecessary at that point.
“This is the perfect time for us to get out there and talk to people and say look you’re not going to have this tax anymore,”
The tax currently is a $0.20 tax but Hensley said the city might have to ask for more, although if the tax were extended as is, taxpayers would not see an increase in taxes.
Alderman Todd Wyse said the city should look at all options including eliminating the city sticker.
“There are other options we can look at,” Wyse said. “I think we need to explore all options.”
Wyse acknowledged that the city sticker is used as a mechanism to get other taxes paid. Alderman Jim Eubank said nobody likes the sticker but it is a valuable tool.
“It’s a shame we have to do city stickers but you can look at how you drug taxes before city stickers and now the compliance you get with city stickers – it’s a proven incentive,” Eubank said. “Nobody likes them but it gets done what you need done.”
The board will schedule a workshop for later this month to look at options.

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