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Sales tax receipts up significantly over 2006

Despite discussions of an "extremely lean" 2008 budget, Jamestown lawmakers picked up some promising information during a meeting of the City Council on Monday night.

City Comptroller Joseph Bellitto said third-quarter sales tax receipts from the county this year are significantly higher than last year's -- a factor that will benefit this and next year's budgets.

Currently, the proposed budget for 2008 totals $30.6 million and features a tax rate increase of 6 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

"I'm expecting us to easily make our sales tax budget this year," Bellitto said. "We're at $3.809 million of a budget of $4.9 million. I expect us to be a minimum of $200,000 over budget in the sales tax line. That's very good news."

Bellitto said lawmakers had budgeted "very conservatively" with the sales tax.
"I am concerned about other areas of the budget -- nothing major," he said. "We have been doing a lot of road construction work this year, and we spent a lot of money there this year. If we are over in some of those areas, extra sales tax will help offset that."

The news came as encouragement to Police Chief Rex Rater and Deputy Fire Chief Lance Hedlund, who told the Council they need new vehicles, repairs to their facilities and new personnel.

Also on hand for the meeting were Joni Blackman, head of the Fenton History Center, and Catherine Way, director of Prendergast Library.

Rater and Hedlund said although their budgets are tight, they will work within the mayor's proposed budget.

Rater noted that even though he faced limits in this year's spending plan, the city's crime rate dropped. He praised his officers for that development.
Meanwhile, Council President Tony Dolce asked Council members to submit budget amendments for 2008 by tonight. He and Finance Committee Chairwoman Linda Albert plan to discuss the amendments with Mayor Sam Teresi by the end of this week.

A public hearing on the budget will be announced next week.

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