The Town of Luther Board of Trustees meets in a Public Hearing and Special Meeting tonight, June 14, to consider a budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. For next year, the Trustees propose a budget based on about $702,000 with expenses at about $650,000..
Town Trustee Lea Ann Jackson, CPA, said the Town so far is “better than budget” for the current fiscal year as of April. “As you know, in the last few years, the town has worked toward significant improvement in their financial processes and reporting, including the hiring of an outside accounting firm. These improvements provide more detailed and reliable information which ultimately allows for a budget which is more reliable in its estimates.”
The Town receives revenue from things like sales taxes, fines and forfeitures, services, grants and interest. The Town spends its money on personnel for the Police Department and Town staff, maintenance of Town properties and operations, debt and capital outlay. Firefighters serving the Luther Fire Department are all volunteers. The Luther Public Works Authority operates the Town’s water, sewer and trash services and has its own budget of $323,000.
Luther’s local sales tax rate is three cents per dollar (the rest of the 7.5% local sales tax rate goes to the state) and is the lowest among surrounding towns. We pay that sales tax at our local restaurants, retailers and other businesses. The Town gets somewhere in the $30,000 range each month according to reporting from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Residents also pay “use taxes” to a growing number of online retailers, and that revenue comes back to Luther monthly.
“We anticipate that local businesses will continue to grow and that there will be additional businesses in town. However, a conservative budget approach is going to rely on current year actual more than anything. A conservative budget is going to lean towards the low end of the estimate for revenue and the higher end of the estimate for expense. In that way, you are more likely to be prepared,” said Jackson.
Meanwhile, the Town is using a lower number on the amount of “fines and forfeitures,” commonly known as tickets, issued by the Luther Police Department. The Town anticipates receiving $204,000 next year in that category down from $225,000 budgeted for the 2017-18 fiscal year that ends June 30. Jackson said that number matches revenue collected through April of this year. “We have recorded $165,147 in Fines/Forfeitures revenue which, I think, makes the projected figure of $204,000 a reasonable estimate.”
While LPD issued 75 tickets in May, it also performed other public safety operations listed in the graphic with information submitted by Police Chief David Randall.
The meeting is at 6:30 pm at Luther Town Hall. Click here for the agenda.