Hospitality tax helps Landrum avoid tax hike in new $1.75M budget

Published 6:28 pm Monday, September 14, 2009

The City of Landrum approved its fiscal year 2010 budget during a meeting this week with no tax increases and no increases in garbage collections.

City council approved the $1,751,001 budget on Tuesday for next year, which will begin on Oct. 1.

The new budget is about 3.4 percent less than the current year budget with the city expecting less revenues from the state next year.

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City Administrator Steve Wolochowicz says he estimated the city will only receive $72,000 in state revenues next year compared to receiving $84,000 this year.

Wolochowicz says the city may have been forced to look at higher taxes, less services or reserves for next year had it not been for the city&squo;s hospitality tax it collected this year. Landrum began collecting hospitality tax from businesses in July, 2008 and collected its first full year this year, which equated to about $130,000. Hospitality tax is restricted to tourism type expenditures and the city has done some improvements with hospitality monies instead of from its general fund this year.

Next year&squo;s budget includes funding for a new patrol car for the police department, the first year funding for a new 800 mh communication system required by the state, new communication (radio and GIS) for one or two fire trucks, a laptop computer with internet service for the fire service vehicle and roll over funding from this year&squo;s budget as the city&squo;s match to grants for a N. Randolph Street sidewalk project.

Next year&squo;s $1,751,001 budget compares to the 2009 budget of $1,812,849.

Most departments will see a decrease in funding, including in administration, streets and sanitation and the fire department. The police department will see about a $12,000 increase next year due to the patrol vehicle and the communication system funding.