City sees sales tax slump

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - City workers are left scratching their heads after sales tax figures dropped 12.8% in May.

That's down more than a million dollars from the same time last year, according to Lloyd Faulkner, the city's finance director.

With the next fiscal year fast approaching, the pressure is on.

"I've got to decide this month how much money I plan to collect next year," Faulkner explained.

"Do I base it on an economy that's steady--one that's gaining--or one that continues to slide?"

Mayor Todd Strange says the city is already running a tight ship, and the drop in revenue may mean some hard choices on the horizon.

"If someone said, 'I have to lose two workers tomorrow, we may only replace one of those.' So attrition is going to take some of that as we go through the next couple months," Strange said.

Also in the cross hairs: city support of non-profit groups and other external agencies.  $8 million of Montgomery's money goes to the organizations.

Mayor Strange says that may need to change.

"Maybe you just really need to focus on what's the most important," he said.

"What gives us the biggest bang for our buck?"

No matter what happens, the mayor says he'll work with departments if cuts become necessary.

"I'm not going to micro-manage a department's budget.  'Here's your money you need to operate.'  But if I need a million bucks back from you, you need to figure out how to get that to be able to make the bottom line," Strange said.

Mayor Strange says the city will stick it out until September 30th, the end of the fiscal year, but adjustments could come after October 1st.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.