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FARMINGTON -- The city exceeded its projected income for 2019 by almost $942,000, according to an amended budget approved by the City Council at its Jan. 13 meeting.

State law requires cities to submit amended budgets in January showing expenses and revenue for the previous year. The council approved the amended budget.

For the general fund, Farmington projected $3.5 million in revenue for 2019. Actual revenue was $4,428,792. The city spent more than $4 million and ended the year with a surplus of about $357,000.

Excess revenue came from local and state sales tax collection, county turnback money, interest, and miscellaneous income and building inspections.

In his state of the city address, Mayor Ernie Penn said the city is financially sound with "excellent cash reserves."

Penn said the city will continue to budget conservatively regarding income growth while maintaining a "tight control regarding operating expenses for each department."

The city conservatively projected to receive $1,150,000 from its sales tax in 2019, but revenue exceeded the projection by almost 35%, bringing in $1,549,059.

Farmington collects a 2% local sales tax, with 1% going to the general fund. For the other 1%, up to half is dedicated to paying off debt on two bond issues, and the rest goes to the general fund.

Revenue from the city's 1% sales tax has increased each year since 2015, according to city records. The city received $653,189 in 2015 from the sales tax. It increased to $688,459 in 2016, $770,376 in 2017, $864,449 in 2018 and $953,073 in 2019.

For the second penny, the city distributed $533,485 in 2018 to the general fund and $598,946 in 2019 to the general fund, after making bond payments.

Penn said he believes sales tax revenue is up because people are moving to Farmington and also is a result of residential growth west of the.

"People coming through our town to go home are shopping in Farmington. I've no doubt about it," Penn said.

He said he believes the convenience of getting in and out of stores in Farmington is another reason tax collection is up.

"It's kinda amazing," Penn said. "This pattern has been going on several years, and it surprises me every year."

For other revenue sources, the city budgeted $1.1 million from the state sales tax and received almost $1.3 million. The city received about $40,000 more than expected from court fines, $100,000 more from county turnback money, $71,000 more from interest income, $40,000 from miscellaneous revenue and $39,000 more from building inspections.

For expenses in the amended budget, the city budgeted about $4.2 million for the general fund and spent more than $4 million, a difference of about $114,000.

According to the amended budget, administration, fire, police, and parks and recreation exceeded projected expenses in 2019.

Some of these expenses included $75,000 for a fire substation at the new public works building, $224,000 to finish improvements at Creekside Park and an additional $67,000 in engineering fees.

For the Street Department, expenses exceeded the budget by $754,037. The department projected spending about $729,000 in 2019, but spent almost $1.5 million. Additional expenses included $915,000 for professional services, which are expenses reimbursed by the Arkansas Department of Transportation for costs associated with widening Arkansas 170.

Revenue was up by $317,000 for the Street Department from a projected $728,600 to about $1 million. The revenue was up because of the reimbursements coming from the Department of Transportation.

T

NW News on 01/26/2020

Print Headline: Farmington exceeds 2019 income projections

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