There’s been a slight increase in revenue from business licenses, which are priced based on sales and the number of employees, and the franchise fee Georgia Power pays for use of the public right of way rose 7 percent in 2012.
But officials on the city’s finance committee aren’t celebrating just yet.
City Manager John Bennett said Wednesday that income from insurance premium taxes beat estimates by $68,000, but the bottom line of $1.8 million still falls short of the $1.9 million collected in 2007.
Local option sales tax revenue — a permanent 1-cent tax to offset property taxes — also is up, but down. Bennett said collections were nearly $5.3 million for the first nine months of the year compared to $5.6 million for the same period in 2007.
“We were getting 15 percent more sales tax five years ago,” he said. “And we’re going to lose even more next year when the tax on motor vehicle sales starts phasing out.”
The Georgia General Assembly eliminated the sales tax on vehicles when it ended the annual “birthday tax” to renew car tags. The new law, which will apply to sales starting March 1, 2013, substitutes a one-time title fee of about 7 percent that will be pro-rated among the state and local governments.
Finance Director Sherri Shore said the fact that motor vehicle tax collections are above the 2011 level is a plus for the city.
“When they start distributing this new money, this is the year they will look at,” she said.
Shore said there’s been “a significant increase” in the amount of back taxes paid by property owners and, as of the end of September, the hotel/motel tax had generated $60,000 more than it had the same time last year.
Commissioner Jamie Doss, who chairs the finance committee, also praised the rebound at the city-owned Stonebridge Golf Club.
“Stonebridge is having a record year,” he said. “Our (management) contract with Billy Casper Golf has come to fruition.”
The city sold timber to pay for a greens replacement project last year and the management company has overseen a spike in the number of rounds being played.
Rome has transferred as much as $750,000 a year into the golf course budget but is down to $430,000, which covers the debt service on the purchase.
Click to see Rome’s latest State of the City report.