City of Owensboro officials expect to end the 2021-22 fiscal year on June 30 with at least $2.6 million more revenue than staff members projected when developing the city budget.
Meanwhile, the city will end the year with lower-than-expected spending, largely because the city has vacancies.
“Now it looks like it could be between $2.6 million and $2.8 million” from estimates, said city finance director Angela Waninger.
The main driver is the business tax, which is paid by people working within the city limits.
“We’re going to exceed $2 million (estimated) in our professional and payroll withholding income,” Waninger said.
Net income tax revenue is expected to be $850,000 higher than estimated, and insurance premium licensing fees are expected to bring in $500,000 more than expected.
“Admittedly, we budgeted very conservatively due to the COVID-19 pandemic” when estimating revenue for the fiscal year, Waninger said. City staff presented a balanced budget based on these conservative revenue estimates.
Mayor Tom Watson said the city’s above-expected revenue reflects the local economy. According to March unemployment figures, Daviess County and the Owensboro Metropolitan Statistical Area had unemployment rates below state and national averages.
“My opinion is that we have a great community that is doing well,” Watson said. “If they succeed, we (the city government) succeed.
“I just congratulate our community and all the places that have hired people.”
City spending was lower than estimated due to unfilled job vacancies, which means less spending on salaries and benefits, Waninger said. Some budget projects have not taken place and will be incorporated into the new fiscal year which begins on July 1st.
“Salaries are the biggest savings you see on the expense side,” she said.
This saving is slightly offset by fuel costs. The city’s fuel expenses are $72,000 more than expected, Waninger said.
Inflation has caused insurance premium income to rise as the cost of insurance policies rises. In the last fiscal year, the city brought in $6.4 million in insurance premium revenue, but that revenue could be as high as $7.1 million.
This money goes back into the general fund to pay for municipal services.
Although insurance premiums are higher, “local residents can also benefit,” Waninger said.