City tax revenue continues climbing; bigger budget expected next year

The city kicked off the process of adopting its 2022-2023 budget Monday evening during a study session, receiving generally positive news from staff.

The good news: We’re in the money, thanks to tourists. For the fiscal year ending June 30, the city expects to take in nearly $21 million in additional revenue than was initially predicted. 

  • Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) collected from hotels, motels, and vacation rental stays was up 31% ($45.6 million).
  • Sales and use taxes were up 23% over projections ($28.7 million).

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Spending was down as well. The city spent an estimated $12 million less than the prior year. 

  • That’s not all good news. Multiple vacancies in city departments meant an $8 million reduction in personnel expenses. That means longer lines at City Hall and increased wait times to address your issues. There’s a plan to hire more people, though.

Money in, money out: Traditional revenue for the next fiscal year is expected to simmer slightly but still increase. An additional $31.5 million in grant revenue is expected, primarily to help the city in its effort to combat homelessness. The city thinks it will bring in $186.4 million in revenue and spend $178.4 million.

  • City manager Justin Clifton outlined 42 hires he’d like the city to make, including a homeless outreach coordinator. There’s also a recommendation for $2 million “for discretionary services provided throughout the year” to help combat the homeless crisis, the most pressing issue mentioned by taxpayers.

What’s next? Another discussion is planned for May 4, and public input is welcome. Next year’s budget should be adopted by mid-June to meet a July 1 deadline. 

  • Clifton: “We did want to be assertive in spending. Not in detriment to our financial perspective. But with that said, we also don’t want to leave a lot of money on the table.”

Dive into the complete staff report here.

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