City eyes tax revenue
SHAMOKIN - The collection of city real estate taxes is on pace to match what was paid last year, according to tax records.
But the pace will have to increase slightly for actual tax revenue to meet 2014 budget projections.
A total of $156,376.04 in real estate taxes was deposited into the general fund through March 31, compared to $152,193.44 in the same period in 2013. The collection rate for real estate taxes in 2013 was about 78 percent.
Shamokin ended April 2013 with $404,273.92 in revenue and had $705,159.23 by year's end, falling short of the $748,587 projected in that year's budget.
The 2014 budget estimates real estate tax revenue at $725,000.
Current tax bills can be paid at a discounted rate through April 30. Treasurer Brenda Scandle said last week that she expects a rush of payments before then, especially from mortgage companies, and that will boost the revenue totals.
A solid collection of tax revenue is crucial as the $350,000 start-of-year Tax Revenue Anticipation Note dwindles - funding used for 2014 expenses in lieu of tax revenue.
City council slimmed its 2014 budget in February when it was reduced from $2.5 million to $2.3 million. There remains an outstanding $811,000 in unpaid bills that piled up over 2013, a loan for which has yet to be secured.
Total tax revenue
Total combined local tax revenue collected through March 31 is $271,744.53. That figure accounts for real estate, debt service, recreation, library, shade tree, occupational assessment, local occupation and per capita taxes. The former five taxes appear together on one tax bill, and the latter three together on a separate tax bill.
There are no budgeted projections for the library, debt service, recreation and shade tree accounts, Scandle said.
The collection rate for the occupational assessment, local occupation and per capita taxes lags well behind real estate taxes, for which unpaid taxes could cost a delinquent taxpayer their property. Per capita taxes were collected last year at a rate of 44 percent, and the occupational assessment and local occupation at 31 percent.
Revenue totals for real estate, per capita, occupational assessment and local occupation taxes fell short of budget projections in 2013 by a combined $71,285.38. It was much more dramatic in 2012 and 2011, when revenue was off by $240,752.97 and $168,184.59, respectively.
The shortfalls were due to delinquent taxpayers and an overestimation of how much tax revenue would be realized.
In 2013, $264,582.01 in delinquent tax bills were turned over to collectors; the total was $294,506.39 in 2012 and $260,276.98 in 2011.
Expectations for tax revenue were adjusted in the 2014 budget to more accurately reflect recent collection data, with the benchmarks all within striking distance of what had been collected in 2013.