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Grass Valley budget better than expected

Grass Valley’s finances fared better than expected during the pandemic, with revenue from sales tax, transient occupancy tax and building fees all exceeding expectations.

According to City Finance Director Andy Heath, mid-year projections for the 2020-21 fiscal year will leave the general fund with a surplus over $350,000.

General fund revenue was about $911,000 more than expected, while its expenditures were about $580,000 more than budgeted.



Heath said at Tuesday’s Grass Valley Council meeting that the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the city’s sales and transient occupancy taxes as much as they anticipated with their conservative approach.

Sales tax revenue was $150,000 more than expected at $6.5 million, which is about the 2018-19 level.




According to Heath, changes to Amazon’s corporate structure could affect how its sales tax is distributed to the city from the county pool, with Amazon being the biggest contributor to the pool.

“We may need another quarter to see what transpires,“ he said.

Revenue from building permits and fees was $75,000 more than anticipated at $300,000. Revenue from planning permits and fees also exceeded expectation by $30,000, nearly doubling to $70,000.

Heath said the increase to permits and fees in both departments is due to “very heavy demand in building activity.”

Transient occupancy tax revenue was $75,000 more than expected, totaling $750,000.

According to the report, property tax revenues were $20,000 above expectations due to “higher than anticipated growth in FY 2020-21 assessed valuation/supplemental collections.”

The report projects a recovery of the city’s general fund by 2023 and credits pension obligation bonds refinanced in 2019, which could save nearly $3 million.

The move created a 20-year fixed cost for the city just under $1.9 million rather than the $2.5 million the payments were expected to increase by 2025.

“It’s a heck of a saving grace,“ Mayor Ben Aguilar said. ”We’re doing things right, which is great… it’s so nice to hear some news like that.“

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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