A glimmer of hope? Town of Truckee showing slight increase in sales tax revenue
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; A subtle trend indicating sales tax gains and steady dividends from the regionand#8217;s transient occupancy tax has town officials optimistic local effects of the Great Recession may be diminishing, though they are reluctant to raise premature hopes.
According to a quarterly financial status update, town of Truckee sales taxes have shown a 3 percent improvement in the second and third quarters of the 2010-11 fiscal year, compared to the second and third quarters of the previous year.
Based on a year-end estimate of $2,720,096, Kim Szczurek, administrative services director for the town, said this forecast spells a gain of $313,311 from the previous year if trends continue until June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Transient occupancy taxes also show a gain, not by way of an increase, but by maintaining pace to gather last yearand#8217;s high of about $1.4 million, which was the second largest amount revenue collection in its history, Szczurek said. It will would mean an additional $150,000 toward the townand#8217;s budget if this pattern persists.
In Truckee, transient occupancy taxes are levied on hotel and lodging guests staying in town for less than 31 days; the tax is 10 percent of the rent charged by a hotel or lodging business.
In Placer County, the percentage varies between 10 and 8 percent, according to location; also, itand#8217;s levied on those staying in town 30 days or less.
On the other hand, property tax revenues and#8212; which constitute the bulk of the townand#8217;s income and#8212; are still on a downward slope. Last year, property tax revenues dropped by a half percent, or about $47,000, in Truckee. This yearand#8217;s property tax revenues have decreased from $9,194,084 to $8,818,616 and#8212; a 4 percent decrease totaling a $375,468 decline.
While only speculation, Szczurek said some have estimated the downward trend is due to commercial real-estate being reassessed to a decreased value.
Szczurek said final numbers and the cause of the decrease will not be known until next summer when the Nevada County Assessor releases property tax revenue data.
The greatest mystery within the townand#8217;s budget centers on how redevelopment agency funding will factor into the townand#8217;s budget as the state legislature continues to fine tune budget cuts, Szczurek said.
Typically, RDA funds are collected from property taxes where a given agency has worked to increase property values by adding public amenities such as parks, landscaping, buildings or other improvements. If the state does away with redevelopment agencies and#8212; an option proposed in Gov. Jerry Brownand#8217;s budget and#8212; it would leave the town with about $1.7 million in annual unassigned annual property tax revenue, Szczurek said.
Considering ongoing legislation, Szczurek said no one knows what will happen to the funding: if the state will simply take it, if it will go to core government uses such as schools of fire services, or if it will be added into the townand#8217;s general fund.
and#8220;The first information weand#8217;ve received is that the first yearand#8217;s amounts would be taken by the state to pay for Medi-cal and trial courts and then after that it would somehow go to and#8216;local agenciesand#8217;, presumably to schools, but we really have no details on that,and#8221; Szczurek said.
Last year the redevelopment agency received a total of about $1.7 million but that number was reduced to $1.16 million through the stateand#8217;s two-year Supplemental Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (SERAF) that directed the money be redistributed to school districts and county offices of education that serve a redevelopment project area or redevelopment supported housing.
In addition to the annual $1.7 million in annual property tax revenues, the redevelopment agency also stands to lose $12.74 million in revenue generated by bonds issued last February.