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Sales tax revenues look encouraging

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Sales tax revenues are up slightly over the same period last year, golf course revenues are higher than they've been in the past six years, and an outside audit of city finances revealed no concerns.

Still, auditor Tim Mayberry urged Delta City Council to keep a close eye on golf course revenues and expenditures. He attended a work session that also included discussion of the model traffic code and liquor tastings in retail liquor stores.

Last fall, voters approved a combined parks, recreation and golf department that allows the 1 cent sales tax previously allocated to the recreation center to be spread among more city departments. Sales tax won't be enough to make up revenue shortfalls at the golf course, however, so the city continues to rely on utility transfers.

"It looks like you'll still have to kick in utilities to balance the golf course fund," Mayberry said, "but you should try to keep the burden off utilities as much as possible."

He told council members the audit went very smoothly so he had time to look closely at inventory, ensuring the proper controls are in place.

Finance director Tod DeZeeuw said sales tax collections to date are $2,526,166. The year 2008 is referred to as the "golden year," because it set the high mark for sales tax collection in the City of Delta. Sales tax collections dropped dramatically in 2009 but have been climbing back and this year nearly reached the 2008 level of $2,614,097 (for the first six months of the year).

Wilma Erven, director of parks, recreation and culture, discussed the golf course in more detail, and alluded to changes that will be made for 2016. Food and beverage, in particular, is getting a close look, she said.

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