The city of Toledo’s 2013 first-quarter income tax collection was down nearly 4 percent over the same period for 2012, but Bell administration officials on Thursday said the drop was an anomaly that will be corrected later in the year.
“There is no need for panic at this point in time,” Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat told Toledo City Council's finance committee.
The city collected more than $24.2 million from its income tax from Jan. 1 through March 31. That is down $955,760 — or 3.79 percent — compared to the first three months of 2012.
Broken down by category, withholding collections were down for the month of March compared to March, 2012, by about 3.3 percent.
Clarence Coleman, Toledo’s commissioner of taxation, said collections from the top 75 employers in the city remained flat over last year.
“Considering there hasn’t been a payment due yet for our smaller employers who pay quarterly, the March differences can probably be attributed mostly to timing and we expect this shortfall to be reversed as we process the first quarter payments that are due at the end of April,” said a statement from City Finance Director Patrick McLean.
First quarter individual collections were down by the largest percentage from year to year — 9.4 percent. Mr. Coleman said the city has focused on collecting money from delinquent accounts the last several years.
“What we are seeing is a result of the low-hanging fruit being plucked the last couple of years,” he said.
Councilman George Sarantou, finance committee chairman, said he still expects growth in the city’s economy this year, although it will not be robust.
“Jeep has not yet put on the 1,000 to 1,100 new people,” Mr. Sarantou said. “We really need to put the brakes on spending if there is a revenue problem.”
The city has budgeted to collect $163.87 million from the 2.25 percent income tax in 2013.
With 25 percent of the year complete, the city collected 15.9 percent of its expected overall revenues. Much of that is because estate taxes, joint economic development zone payments, and emergency management services fees were not due during the first three months of the year, Mr. Coleman said.
Some funding sources were at or above the 25 percent mark. Casino revenue collected totaled almost $1.4 million through March 31, or 28 percent of the total $4.95 million expected for the entire year. Red light and speed enforcement camera revenue through March 31 was $619,367, which is 14.75 percent of the $4.2 million expected for the year.
The city’s fire department overtime was over budget for the first quarter. Nearly half of the budgeted $2 million was spent during the first three months of 2012.
Mr. Sarantou called the fire department overtime “a frightening trend.”
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