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COLUMBUS, Ga. — The city has published its annual ‘snapshot review’ of its fiscal performance during the past fiscal year from July 2022 through the end of May 2023.
A quick look at the document shows revenue performance that did not meet expectations, along with a few rather worrisome holes.
You can take a look at the city’s document for yourself here and use it as a reference as we dive into it below.
From July 2022 through the end of May 2023, the city’s General Fund saw a 7.24% overall increase in revenue from the year before. From the previous year’s income of $148.8 million, the city managed to grow that number to just over $159.5 million during FY2023.
However, the city had planned to bring in even more: it budgeted an expected revenue of $166 million, falling well short by only producing $159.5 million.
The most prominent revenue decrease came from the city’s misplanning of revenue from occupational tax, which only generated 40.5% of its budgeted goal; it missed its target by 59.5%.
Though the city expected to bring in $14.5 million from things like business licenses and gross receipt tax, the city’s occupational tax only generated a mere $5.88 million instead. That’s nearly $7 million short of the budgeted target.
Another red flag that pops out is the City Attorney’s litigation expenses, which were budgeted to cost the city $1.3 million. However, the city spent 23% more than what they had planned for, spending $1.6 million litigating court cases throughout the year.
This also begs the question of: Why is the city being sued so much that it is exceeding their budget line-item by 23%?
Moving out of the General Fund, the Civic Center Fund reveals some serious revenue concerns which are likely indicative of far greater problems throughout the management of the Civic Center itself.
Though the Civic Center had generated $8.7 million in revenue the year prior, it only brought in a staggeringly-low total of $5.3 million during FY2023 falling $3.39 million short. That’s a whopping 39% decrease in revenue in just a single year. We wonder if the Civic Center’s previous leadership had anything to do with that loss — hint hint — though that’s a story for another day.
Facts are stubborn things — and we’ll keep publishing them, whether city officials like them or not.
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