Winder’s city government ended fiscal year 2009 nearly $900,000 in the red, but city administrator Bob Beck told the city council at its November meeting that it could have been worse.
“That sounds like a lot of money, but it’s a far cry from where I thought it would be a year ago,” said Beck. “I thought it would be in the $1.5-2 million range...”
According to the 132-page comprehensive annual financial report distributed at the Nov. 10 meeting by finance director Leslie Ginn, the city government saved $440,000 in operating expenses by laying off about 30 employees four months before the end of the fiscal year.
The city’s bottom line also was aided by a 39-percent increase in the millage rate for the fire district tax.
Winder officials said the city levies no property tax and technically it is Barrow County that levies the tax. However, the tax is levied for the city and the county also rolls back the county tax rate on properties inside the city limits by 2.15 mils to help offset the impact on property owners.
With the rate now 3.00 mils, the fire tax in FY2009 generated almost $1 million, nearly a fourth of the tax revenues collected by the city during the last fiscal year.
The additional $272,000 in fire tax revenues helped offset a 20-percent drop in Local Option Sales Taxes. Sales taxes are the biggest single source of tax revenue for the city, but dropped last year by about $372,000.
All together, taxes generated about $4.5 million for the city in FY2009. But the greatest source of revenue for the government was from the city’s own utility operations.
According to the financial report, about $5.2 million in utility profits was transferred to the general operating fund.
More than $3.9 million was transferred from the Water and Sewer Fund, and $1 million was transferred from the Gas Fund.