Sales taxes and how to find additional funds to help pay for the city’s commitment to the Riverside Discovery Center among the topics discussed by the Scottsbluff City Council Monday night.
City Manager Nathan Johnson says staff is closely watching trends on the city’s sales tax receipts. “Unfortunately trends in sales tax revenues are down, especially with declining retail and declining restaurants, the sales tax numbers just aren’t there,” says Johnson. “So we need to look at other areas, and if we can’t come up with other areas we need to adjust our expenditures to make sure we have a balanced budget.”
Johnson says the most recent month in the current fiscal year saw about $25,000 less than expected in sales taxes, which is more than a 5 percent drop. The city’s general fund supplies $350,000 to the RDC, and the council directed Johnson to further examine other potential funding sources, such as an occupation tax on dining out.
In other council action, the panel approved the purchase of a property with the intention to help storm drainage in the southeast part of the city. The council voting in favor of purchasing 1306 East Overland for $95,000 as part of the city’s plan to open up the Scottsbluff Drain. The drain is currently buried underground, and city officials are working to secure the properties above it so bottlenecks in the current layout can be eliminated.
The council also asked Fire Chief Tom Schingle to further refine a proposed ordinance that would set guidelines on when the city would charge residents for repeated calls for non-medical assistance from the fire department. Changes the council would like to see include waiting until after the 3rd such call in a 12-month period before submitting a bills for $100 for additional calls for assistance.