CAMARILLO : Sales Tax Revenues Exceed Expectations

Camarillo's sales tax revenues during the holiday shopping season were higher than projected, freeing up $194,000 for items that had been put on hold because of an anticipated $350,000 shortfall for the year.

Because of the recession, Finance Director Anita Bingham said Friday that she had projected that sales tax revenues would be down by 5% or 6% over the previous fiscal year.

But shoppers spent more money than Bingham had projected, so the city's revenues for the first nine months of the fiscal year that ends June 30 are only 1.3% lower than in the same nine months in the previous fiscal year, she said.

"This is a far better picture than we expected," Bingham said.

Before the recession, tax revenues rose by 5% or 6%, even before the state added snack foods and periodicals to the list of taxable items.

The council unanimously voted last week to allow staff to purchase a number of items with the $194,000, including $30,000 for carpeting in half of City Hall, $15,000 for a new vehicle for the city manager, and $10,000 for an automated vault system for the city clerk.

Some other items totaling $1.1 million, which were put on hold in case city revenues fell even more than expected, will remain on hold until the city's financial picture stabilizes.

For example, a $291,000 expansion of City Hall and $153,000 in road median landscaping cannot move forward until the council frees up those funds.

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