Could have been worse.
Might even get better.
That’s the gist of the Payson Town Council’s first-ever quarterly financial report, offered by finance director Hope Cribb at a recent regular meeting.
“We’re not thriving,” said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans after hearing the report, “but we’re striving to get to the next step.”
The most hopeful tidbit in the report lay in the big jump in building permits issued by the community development department, after three years without a single significant new housing development.
Building permits for the first half of the fiscal year totaled $95,000, a 35 percent jump from the year previous.
That’s still far below the boom times in 2008 and 2007, when the building department approved permits for an average of more than 250 new homes annually.
However, it’s better than the past three years, when permits totaled more like 10 to 30 new homes annually.
The quarterly report also showed a sharp rise in money from bed taxes charged by hotels, but that reflects in part a significant increase in that tax.
Overall, however, most sources of town revenue have remained stagnant this year, especially the crucial revenue from sales tax — which pays for most of the general fund budget — including police and fire.
Overall, the town had collected $2.7 million in restricted operating revenues between June and December, about $500,000 less than projected when the council adopted the annual budget back in June.
However, Cribb said the town has money coming that will lesson the impact of that shortfall. Outstanding money not yet received including:
About $52,000 the Tonto Apache Tribe normally donates to the town, which in years past has helped do things like make payments to the State Parks Department to keep Tonto Natural Bridge open.
About $24,000 from the sale of surplus town property, like outdated computers and extra desks and furniture.
About $59,000 the Forest Service owes the town to pay for the time of firefighters and equipment used to help fight the Wallow Fire, the White Mountain inferno that turned into the biggest wildfire in state history.
About $50,000 the Rim Country Educational Alliance SLE agreed to pay for one acre of town land the Alliance wants to use for the first phase of a university campus here.