Sales tax revenue up in Montgomery

We're all looking for any legitimate signs that the recession has bottomed out.  We may have seen the first encouraging signs of that turnaround from City Hall in Montgomery.

The numbers are in and they're showing the buying and spending habits of shoppers are still down, but when compared to the last five months they're up just a little bit.  That means while the drop in revenue has been around 10% in the past, now it's only down 9.9%. "That's a small tick, but look at those numbers. There's a pattern there.  I think we've bottomed out.  That's just my opinion.  That's why I think retail in Montgomery has bottomed out.  I don't think we're going to slide anymore," explains City Finance Director, Lloyd Faulkner.

Roughly 50% of the city's budget comes from sales taxes, so even if sales receipts don't slide downward anymore this year, they're still down enough to predict the budget in 2010 will be lower than this years. "We cut our budgets 5.5% last fiscal year and we cut them again 2% this fiscal year and we're down to the point where we've just about cut it as much as we can cut it without cutting services or sending people home," says Faulkner.

Faulkner says he will look for cuts in every nook and cranny he can find for 2010, but he sees no good news in that budget for city employees.

City departments turned in their budgets for 2010 last week.  Faulkner says they will begin budget hearings possibly next week. Faulkner says he will first go through the budgets with the department heads to take out any unnecessary allocations.  After that, Mayor Strange will take over to eliminate whatever he thinks are unnecessary expenditures.