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Seeing the Positive: School system’s sales tax collections up $38,000 during month of January

Amid continuing bad economic news, the Washington County School System received some good news this month, according to Director of Schools Ron Dykes.
Dykes told commissioners at their March 15 budget committee meeting that sales tax collections for the month of January were $38,000 on the positive side.
“That’s a good sign,” said Dykes, who compared those figures to December, when collections were $75,000 to the negative.
However, total collections for the year to date remain about $625,000 below expected figures, he said. The school system has already cut around $500,000 from its budget, and will have to find a way to cut the remaining amount to balance the budget, Dykes said.
The school system has had to dip into its state-mandated three-percent cushion to help financially, Dykes said. That fund must be replenished, but not immediately, he added.
County officials also updated the budget committee on the county’s financial picture as a whole.
About $17.1 million has come in through real estate taxes for the year-to-date, through Feb. 28, which was the tax deadline before 2009 taxes became delinquent. That is about 95 percent of what the county expected to receive by the deadline.
As compared to last year’s collections, that total is up about $500,000 higher.
Total revenues for the year to date are $26.6 million, up about $600,000 from last year, and total expenditures for the year to date ar $22.5 million, up about $300,000 from the previous year.
The county has a net fund balance of $6.7 million, not including $1.145 million set aside to balance the budget with if need be.
The Sheriff’s Office requested a transfer of $26,369.74 from reserves to the Drug Fund budget line for the electronic fingerprinting imaging system. A portion of drug fines is set asde for the upgrading or purchasing of electronic fingerprinting imaging equipment, and the office intends to upgrade its systems with the revenue.