Earned income tax collections — and OT costs — up in WB’s August financial report draft

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected]
Wampole -

WILKES-BARRE — With two-thirds of the year gone, the financial picture of the city is coming into better focus.

Some revenues will miss the mark, while others — such as the earned income tax — are on track to exceed their budgeted amounts, said city Administrator Ted Wampole.

The draft financial report for August listed revenues of $35.1 million and expenses of $24.7 million, leaving a $10.4 million balance through eight months of the year. The city is operating on a $49.4 million balanced general fund budget.

Wampole acknowledged the city “may not hit its goal” of $1 million in parking meter revenues. Through Aug. 31, meter revenue was $495,173, or 49.5 percent of the budget.

The city collected $176,003 more in fees compared to the same period last year, but it also doubled the hourly parking rate to $2.

The garbage bag program brought in $951,365 in revenues, or 58.3 percent of the $1.6 million budgeted for 2018. Wampole pointed out revenues were approximately $240,000, or one-third more than they were last year due to the higher fees for bags.

“Don’t forget we increased the cost by 30 percent,” Wampole said.

Building inspection permits for plumbing and electrical work were $230,000 ahead of last year. They raised $630,078 in revenues, or 87 percent of the $725,000 budgeted.

Earned income tax revenue has been a surprise too.

The city budgeted $13.1 million this year from the EIT. Through the end of August, it collected $9.9 million or approximately 76 percent of the total. Revenues are running $432,221 ahead of last year.

“We’re extremely encouraged by that,” Wampole said. “That was something that was unexpected.”

Wampole attributed the increase to more people working at higher wages to pay the city’s 3 percent tax.

But not all the increases in the report were positive.

Firefighters’ overtime totaled $106,256, or 212.5 percent of the $50,000 budgeted for the entire year.

Other overtime included:

• Ambulance services emergency: $12,328, or 154.1 percent of $8,000 budgeted.

• Waste collection: $109,884, or 146.5 percent of $75,000 budgeted.

• Waste collection double time: $4,539, or 113.5 percent of $4,000 budgeted.

• Waste collection special events double time: $23,074, or 153.8 percent of $15,000 budgeted.

• Hollenback Golf Course: $5,063, or 202.5 percent of $2,500 budgeted.

• Hollenback Golf Course double time: $1,165, or 233 percent of $500 budgeted.

Commingled recycling was listed as a revenue source, but will be an expense next year.

“The bottom has dropped out of the recycling market,” Wampole said.

The city won’t come close to the $10,000 in revenue it budgeted. Through August, it collected $0 and was $15,576 behind last year. Wampole said the city will budget $100,000 to dispose of the recycling in 2019 and other municipalities will be facing the same problem.

Wampole
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By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.