City sewer fund exceeding budget

The Princeton city budget is a barometer of events going on and evidence of that is in the third quarter budget update this year.

The update came in a presentation by city treasurer Steve Jackson at last Thursday’s city council meeting. He provided a written memo and also spoke about it in a short summary.

His memo states that the revenue percentage in the sewer fund is above the expected percent of budget. The revenue overage, he stated, is accounted for in the sewer availability charges and that is primarily due to the Walmart store construction and the expansion at United States Distilled Products (USDP). The sewer availability total for the first nine months of this year is $276,464, nearly five times more than the budgeted amount of $60,000. The amount in that account, in the first nine months of last year, was $56,727.

Jackson notes that usage revenue from monthly wastewater service is slightly less than expected, “but appears to be correcting itself now that the second half of the rate increase has taken effect,” Jackson wrote.

But overall revenue in the sewer fund, at the end of September 2012, is behind expenditures by nearly $6,500,000 when considering capital costs and that is because of the construction project to expand the wastewater plant, Jackson noted.

When not including capital costs, such as the construction project, expenditures in the sewer fund are still significantly over revenue, Jackson said, and he explained that as well. It is mostly due to the timing of interest payments on the debt incurred in the expansion, he said.


Liquor sales higher than budgeted

“Actual sales amounts are greater than the expected budget level, and this is with two of the largest volume months remaining,” Jackson’s written report continues. He also said the revenue is significantly higher than the same third quarter totals for years 2010 and ‘11.

On the expenditure side, expenditures are more than budget expectations and that is due to liquor manager Nancy Campbell making large purchases to take advantage of package deals and buying in advance of expected cost increases, Jackson said.


The general fund

The general fund’s total revenue for the first nine months of this year is only 50 percent of budget, but that is typical, due to the city’s revenue stream, Jackson said. He explained that the last half of property tax revenue doesn’t arrive until December.

The only areas of the general fund where expenditures are significantly over budget in the third quarter, according to Jackson, are assessing, mosquito control and splash park. “This is somewhat expected, since these areas have high concentrations of expenditures in just a few months instead of being spread out over the entire year,” Jackson stated.

Mosquito control and splash park balance sheets will have to be reviewed later to see if they should receive budget changes for 2013, Jackson noted.

General fund revenue (when including capital expenditures) at the end of September this year was $1,661,255, while expenditures totaled $2,026,426.