Sales Tax Income Down - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Sales Tax Income Down

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February brought a second straight month of a major fall-off in sales tax collections in Minot.

Sales tax revenue was down 38 percent again last month.

Minot City Finance Director Cindy Hemphill says if sales continue on this trend, changes may need to be made to this year's budget.

Hemphill says the reason for the lower numbers cannot be pin pointed.

Flood recovery investments have slowed from last year, but she says building permits are still up.

She says another possible cause could be a slower pace in the oil fields --- she's expecting a change in that area in April when the weather changes and load restrictions are removed.

She says that if the sales tax revenue trend does not turn around by May, the city will take action reviewing the budget.

(Cindy Hemphill, Minot City Finance Director) "If it continues on this trend, I will have to be making some suggestions on some changes to the budget, because sales tax does go towards a lot of different things, especially capitol infrastructure and if we don't meet our budget then funds aren't available."

It's not all bad news.

Hemphill says that compared to 2011, the 2012 budget was up nearly 40 percent by the end of the year.

She says hat huge one-year increase caused the city to be conservative when writing the 2013 budget.

(Cindy Hemphill, Minot City Finance Director) "I'm not anticipating that we will get to the same level that we were last year. And when we put the 2013 budget together, we only estimated maybe a one percent increase over last year. So from a budget stand point, we may not be too far off but it will have to come up from the 38 percent down to meet that. So we'll see how it levels out here."

Hemphill says she's been in contact with the state and she's watching sales tax revenue numbers closely --- but will wait until May before reviewing budget changes.

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