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FARMINGTON -- The city of Farmington probably will see its revenues affected by the covid-19 pandemic, but for January to April, city and state sales tax revenues are up by $115,000, compared to the same period in 2019, according to Mayor Ernie Penn.

Penn talked about city revenues during the City Council's May 11 meeting.

"We're still in the positive above what we budgeted," Penn told council members during their virtual meeting through the Zoom app. "But we'll probably see in May how the trend will go. Everyone is anticipating financials will go down."

Gov. Asa Hutchinson closed many parts of the state during mid-March and started allowing some businesses to reopen with restrictions this month. Sales tax revenues run about two months behind, so sales taxes collected in March will not be distributed to counties and cities until May.

Farmington will receive its May payment around May 22, said Melissa McCarville, city business manager.

The city of Farmington collects a 2% local sales tax. Of this, 1% goes to the general fund. A portion of the second 1% is dedicated to paying off parks and street improvement bonds, and the balance goes into the general fund.

Farmington received $544,669 from its local sales tax for the general fund for January-April, compared to $462,312 for the same period last year, a difference of $82,356.

For January, Farmington received $130,377 in local sales tax revenues; February, $148,481; March, $133,976; April, $131,834.

For its portion of the state sales tax (which is based on per capita), Farmington received $435,914 for January-April, compared to $403,178 for the same period in 2019, a difference of $32,736.

The city projects to receive $1,350,000 from its local sales tax in 2020. Through the first four months of the year, the city has received 40% of this projection.

"Even if we have a downward trend, I think we'll be OK," Penn said last week. "We may see some in May, but I think it will be June when it will be more evident."

Penn said even if receipts are lower for several months, he believes the extra revenue from January through April will offset a downturn.

The council's May meeting lasted about 30 minutes and only had two action items on the agenda.

Penn asked the council to affirm, which it did, a decision to hire Bill Hellard as the next Farmington fire chief. A personnel committee interviewed four top candidates. Hellard was offered the position and accepted it.

Hellard attended the meeting in person. He was introduced and then briefly spoke to city council members, who were all attending the meeting through Zoom.

"It's a privilege and very humbling," Hellard said.

Fire Chief Mark Cunningham, who was virtually attending his last council meeting as chief, said he appreciated the opportunity to serve the city of Farmington.

"It's been my dream job," Cunningham said.

Penn said the city plans to have an "official farewell" for Cunningham at some point in the future when the covid-19 outbreak has calmed down.

"I know a lot of people would like to come back and shake his hand," Penn said.

The council also approved the school resource officer contract with Farmington School District for the 2020-21 year. The city and school each pay 50% of the salary for one officer. For the second officer, the school pays 80% and the city pays 20%.

According to the contract, school resource officers are under the direct supervision of the school superintendent and the general supervision of the police chief.

General News on 05/20/2020

Print Headline: City Sales Tax Revenues Increase

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