May 012015

By Tammy Gray

Revenues and expenditures are still on track for Navajo County to end the year in the black, Finance Director James Menlove reported to the board of supervisors on Tuesday.

According to Menlove, the county expects to take in approximately $919,000 more than it has spent by the end of the fiscal year in June. He explained, however, that the excess funds will be necessary to balance the 2015-16 budget.

“The funds are critical to be able to help us meet our obligations and additional challenges handed down by the state. They are critical to our fiscal sustainability,” he said.

Menlove told the board that both county and state shared sales tax revenues continue to grow. County sales tax revenues are expected to come in at about three percent above projected levels, while state shared sales tax revenues are expected to come in at about two percent above projections.

Both taxes, which are major sources of funds for the county, decreased sharply in October and December, but remained strong enough during other months to make up for the losses. Menlove predicts that if the current trend continues, county sales tax will generate $229,196 more than the budget predicted for a total of $6.85 million in revenue, while state shared sales tax will bring in $246,560 more than predicted to total $10.97 million.

Other major funds, such as the vehicle license tax, are just below projected levels. To date, vehicle license tax revenues are averaging .33 percent under the amounts projected in the budget.

Limited spending will also help keep the budget balanced. Menlove reported that by the end of the year, the county expects to have taken in a total of $34.61 million in revenues and spent $33.69 million, resulting in the $919,000 that will be carried over into the next year.

According to Menlove’s report, the county will not spend the full amount budgeted this fiscal year, which will help achieve the carryover. A total of $38.24 million in expenditures was budgeted for the fiscal year, including contingency funds and other monies that were not necessarily intended to be spent except in the case of an emergency.

By the end of the fiscal year, the report predicts that the county will spend $2.8 million less than budgeted on salaries and benefits, $934,191 less than budgeted on operating expenses and $754,977 less than budgeted on capital outlay.

The budget process has already begun for fiscal year 2015-16 and Menlove noted that continuing cuts from the state, as well as new obligations, will make it difficult for the county to meet all of its obligations.

Supervisor Jesse Thompson pointed out that the county needs to continue to lobby at the state level.

“We need to do more work with the legislature,” he said. “We need to let those in Phoenix know what they’re doing to the counties.”