Rockville’s revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year are ahead of where they were during the same period last year, a recent city financial report shows. General fund revenues were up about $2 million overall, with the greatest increases in revenue from property and income taxes, tax duplication and red-light cameras.
The report, released ahead of the Nov. 19 Mayor and Council meeting, gives an overview of the city’s finances during fiscal 2013’s first quarter, or the period from July through September of this year.
Stacey Webster, the city’s budget and finance manager, said the increase in income tax revenues probably will not continue during the rest of the fiscal year.
“We think it’s just a timing issue with the payment [from the county], and we don’t expect the total revenue to go above our budget,” she said.
If income revenues are up again in the second quarter, then city staff will consider amending the budget, the report said. Most income tax revenue usually comes in during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, April through June.
“If it continues to be ahead, we’ll take action sometime during the year, but it’s too early right now to do anything with that,” Webster said.
Income taxes are included in the revenues Rockville receives from other government entities, such as the county and state. This time last year, revenues from other governments totaled about $2.5 million. This year, they are about $3.3 million. The city expects to receive $16 million from other government entities over the course of the entire fiscal year.
Property tax revenue also was up by about $1 million more than in FY12, when the city received about $2 million in the first quarter. Most property taxes come in during the second and third quarters of the fiscal year, the report said. For the whole year, the budget estimates Rockville will bring in about $35 million from property taxes, more than half of the $65 million total expected in general fund revenue.
The city’s red-light cameras also brought in more revenue than in the first quarter of last year, partly because two of the cameras are in new locations.
“Anytime when they add a new location or move a camera, they see a spike in revenues,” Webster said.
Earlier in 2012, Rockville switched to a new vendor for the red-light camera program, and new camera systems were installed.
“The new vendor is able to set up cameras in right-turn-on-red areas, whereas the other vendor couldn’t, so we’re capturing some of the right-turn-on-red violations,” Webster said.
Red-light cameras generated about $274,000 in the first quarter of FY13, up $170,000 compared to the same period last year. The 2013 budget projected that red-light cameras would bring in $637,500 during the fiscal year.
The report also includes details about various other funds, such as those the city receives from utility charges, parking meters and various fees. The water and sewer funds’ cash balances currently are below the reserve requirement. Webster said there is a plan in place to bring those reserves back up to where they should be, but that takes time.
“It’s been expected, and there is a plan in place — and has been a plan in place for the past several years of rate increases [to bring the funds back into compliance],” she said.
The report also shows that the city transferred $100,000 from the city manager’s contingency fund to the Department of Public Works for cleanup after the derecho storm at the end of June.
Rockville’s Mayor and Council have started work sessions to prepare for the fiscal year 2014 budgeting process. They are scheduled to receive a preview on FY14 during the Dec. 10 meeting. A copy of the 2013 budget is available online at www.rockvillemd.gov/budget.