Improving national economy not reflected in Elizabethton revenues

John Thompson • Apr 11, 2019 at 10:17 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton City Council continued its study of the city’s budget during another workshop session Thursday afternoon, this time examining the city’s revenues and its debt load.

Trends in local revenue were discouraging because most of the city’s revenue streams remain fairly flat despite the growth in the national economy.

Mayor Curt Alexander said local sales tax has not followed the normal pattern of a rising economy because of two new factors: online purchases and the popular Pinnacle shopping center in Bristol.

But at least the city’s sales tax is holding steady. The latest collection, for February, was $358,478 for the city’s total local option sales tax.

In contrast, the income from the Hall state tax on interest and dividends is declining to nil in two years, with nothing to replace it. With one cent of property tax generating $25,000, that means the city would have to raise property tax rate by 10 cents to cover the loss of $250,000 the city has been getting from the Hall Tax.

The good news is that several of the city’s bonds have recently been paid off. The city’s General Fund’s annual payments on its debt has declined from $940,840 in 2017-18 down to the $291,351 projected for next year if no new debt is taken on. School debt remains steady at around $700,000 per year.

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