Roanoke City Revenues Trending Up


by Valerie Garner

Roanoke City finances are looking up this year though it has not yet equaled its peak performance which came in fiscal year 2009. The measure that Director of Finance Ann Shawver uses in her optimism is growth in the business license tax (BPOL). Shawver told council Monday that for the first time in four years it has increased six percent.

“We’re still not back to the peak year of revenue as a whole,” she said “but our businesses here in Roanoke in 2011 are finally seeing growth. The last time they saw growth was back in 2007.” It is a promising indicator for the BPOL tax to be up.

Revenues year-to-date have increased .7 percent just .3 percent shy of the expectation of one percent growth. There was also strong enterprise fund performance for the Civic Facilities Fund and stable performance for the Parking Fund.

Other local taxes including the food and beverage and occupancy tax are up three percent. That doesn’t include the temporary two-cent increase that expires June 30.

Though expenditures were budgeted for an uptick of one percent, they have actually increased over four percent, but that was the result of having a third payroll in fiscal year 2012 which will correct itself in March, explained Shawver.

With the use of contingencies to cover exceptional costs and careful management of expenses the general fund is expected to remain within budget for the year.

At Monday’s briefing the fiscal year 2013 budget was tweaked to within $1.3 million of being balanced. An improvement over the last budget session where priorities of the budget working groups had the budget exceeded by $11 million.

The completed budget will be presented at the April 16 City Council meeting followed by a public hearing on April 26. Formal adoption of the budget that begins on July 1 will take place May 14.