It has been a great year for sales tax revenue in Sweetwater so far, City Recorder Jessica Morgan reported during the Jan. 28 monthly city workshop.
Morgan gave a quarterly report to Mayor Doyle Lowe and Commissioners Lamar Hughes, Sam Moser, Ed Lee, Billy “Buster” West and Bill Stockton.
With the city halfway through 2018-19 fiscal year, sales tax revenue is at $1,106,314, which is up 11 percent over the year before.
In November, downtown businesses brought in 36 percent more sales tax revenue to the city compared to November 2017. Morgan said the growth has come from not only new downtown businesses that opened in the past year, but from existing businesses as well as they saw a 13-percent increase in the sales tax revenue they turned in during November.
Morgan said the city has been praised by state officials for its use of a $50,000 entrepreneurial grant that helped several businesses get established in a Main Street building.
Morgan said the opening of Rural King last February in the former Kmart building has also brought a big sales tax revenue boost to the city. She also said hotels turned in 7 percent more in sales tax money in 2018 compared to the year before.
Morgan’s figures showed there has been a dramatic increase in the city’s general fund balance or reserve funds in the last seven years. At the end of the 2011 fiscal year, the city had $410,637 in reserve. That total had swollen to $1,578,996 at the end of June 2018. That is very close to the auditor’s recommended balance of $1,645,454. Morgan said the city’s reserves should hit that auditor’s mark at the end of this June.
At the start of the Jan. 28 meeting, city officials also discussed the city’s pool, which is leaking water.
Recreation Director Tim Crawford said because the pool’s age it is difficult to find an outside company to patch it. Crawford said city workers will patch it and try to get through this year then decide what to do about the leaking pool.
Mayor Lowe announced that all appears to be in line for the overpass at Exit 60 to be named after World War II veteran Clinton Riddle. That move should officially come later in the year, he said.
The next city meeting will be at 5 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 4. One of the items on that agenda is the proposed lodging tax, which has been tabled the last several months.