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Wed, Aug. 12

Local economy gains strength
BBB tax revenue up 45 percent over last year

As the city of Williams continues to grow, more and more people are flocking to the community both as visitors and residents. A recent sales tax analysis prepared by city staff reflects a vibrant economy, with total sales tax and bed, board and booze revenues up 26 percent during fiscal year 2005-2006 through the end of January.

The 2005-2006 fiscal year began in July and ends in June.

Through January, total sales tax revenues were about $2,542,000. In FY 2004-2005 through January 2005 total sales tax collections were $2,010,371.

BBB tax revenues have risen dramatically this fiscal year ‹ already 45 percent for FY 2005-2006. BBB revenues collected through January are $391,706. During FY 2004-2005 through January 2005 BBB revenues totaled $269,334. A portion of this increase can be attributed to the increase of BBB taxes from 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent. The Williams City Council approved the increase, effective Jan. 1.

"Increased city revenues benefit us all," said Williams City Manager Dennis Wells. "The city provides a high level of service to its residents and to the county residents in our area. Only with healthy revenues can we continue to provide this level of service to our citizens and keep up with the continuing demands we face."

Year to date sales tax-only collections are up 24 percent over last year. Collections through January were at $2,151,124. FY 2004-2005 collections through January 2005 totaled $1,741,037.

"After several years of slow revenue growth, this year's acceleration will help improve the city of Williams' long term financial position while also allowing us to complete some much needed projects in the short term," said Joe Duffy, assistant city manager/finance director.

Several industries are a driving force behind the positive total sales tax collections. Due to the community's housing boom, the construction industry collections are up 34 percent over last year. Retail trade collections increased 16 percent while restaurants and bars have increased 20 percent. The 23 percent increase in hotel and other lodging sales tax collections reflects a strong increase in tourism.

"The beauty of our nice increase in revenues lies in the fact that most of these revenues come from outside our community. The city council has wisely created a revenue stream which imports money which in turn is spent here locally to benefit our citizens," said Wells.

A Williams City Council report summary dated Feb. 28 demonstrates the local economy will continue to flourish.

Police fines imposed are up 23 percent over last year. The issuance of building permits within the city has increased by 10 percent and city officials are expecting a surge in permits beginning this month.

The Highway User Reve-nue Fund has increased 24 percent year to date and the electric system revenues have increased by 10.7 percent.

"Healthy revenue growth is vital to our ability to rebuild our aging infrastructure. We are re-building our physical infrastructure piece by piece," Wells said.

City officials are reviewing the numbers in preparation for FY 2006-2007. The final city budget will be adopted at the June 22 Williams City Council meeting.

Residents that want to know how city monies are budgeted are urged to attend a series of budget meetings. Budget meetings will begin at 5 p.m. May 17 and 18 in city council chambers and are open to the public.

For more information, contact the city of Williams at (928) 635-4451.

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