Carryforward numbers arrive higher in 2004

POULSBO — More sales tax revenue, some cancelled expenditures and not being robbed helped the City of Poulsbo’s carryforward numbers come in higher than anticipated for 2004.

“We did very well,” Finance Director Donna Bjorkman commented on the amount of carryover that was realized this year.

Last month, Bjorkman had expressed concern that already standing necessities would drain carryforward dollars as soon as they were known. Last week, she reported to members of council’s Finance/Administration Committee that the situation was much less bleak.

Carryforward for 2004 came in at $657,651. Of that, $444,556 is already budgeted, leaving $213,095 still available. The Finance/Administration Committee recommended putting aside:

•$54,790 for L&I increases and health care contingency during the Teamsters Local 598 mediation

•$24,275 for level of service (LOS) increases that were going to be paid out of transfer from the Revenue Stabilization Reserves

•$38,179 for the remaining LOS requests for 2004

•$44,621 for grants from the Planning Department that must be carried over

Bjorkman recommended that the city council consider putting the remaining $51,230 back into the Revenue Stabilization reserve account. The committee was supportive of the suggestion and included it in its recommendation to the full council.

“That would be my recommendation,” Councilman Ed Stern commented. “Let’s rainy day this. We should be banking for 2005, 2006 and beyond.”

If the teamsters mediation is successful, some of the money budgeted for that could also be saved.

This year’s scenario is vastly different from carryforward numbers last year. Just after passing the 2003 budget, departments were forced to trim about 4.8 percent off the top until carryforward numbers were known. The funds came in at about $753,000, with about $632,000 already spoken for. With the remaining $121,000, council restored about half of the budget cuts and reserved the remaining $38,000 for a later date.

Councilman Mike Regis, another member of the Finance/Administration Committee said he was pleased the council may be able to use some of this year’s carryforward to strengthen reserves. Regis said it has always been a fiscal priority of the Poulsbo council to build up the Revenue Stabilization fund and it should continue to be so.

“Some people question that, but it’s our duty as a council to explain to the public why we have a Revenue Stabilization fund,” Regis commented. “People say ‘You have plenty of money’ but we also have plenty of challenges.”

Bjorkman explained that the healthy carryforward numbers in 2004 came down to excess revenue and lower expenses. She said about $513,000 was the result of higher generated revenue. Categories like sales tax, licensing and permitting and admission tax all came in higher this year than what was budgeted.

But the biggest jump in additional revenues was $165,000 from fines and forfeitures. Bjorkman said this is a result of the money owed from former court clerk Deborah Dally’s embezzlement being added back onto the books.

“And also, from not being stolen from,” she added.

About $175,000 of the excess carryover came from budgeted expenses that were not spent for a number of reasons.

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