10/28/10 — Utility rate hike, hotel use boost city revenues

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Utility rate hike, hotel use boost city revenues

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 28, 2010 1:46 PM

Goldsboro has seen a dramatic increase from last year in revenues collected through the first quarter, Finance Director Kaye Scott recently told members of the City Council.

And the additional funds, she said, came in, mainly, for two reasons: residents are paying higher fees for water and sewer service and local hotels are seeing more customers coming through their doors.

The city's Utility Fund balance currently stands nearly $340,000 ahead of where it was at this time last year, Mrs. Scott said -- the city has already collected some $280,000 more in water use fees than it had through the first quarter last year, a result of the 15 percent water rate increase and 5 percent sewer rate increase put into place when the 2010 budget was approved by the board.

But the rate increases did, however, seemingly come with their own set of problems -- late payment fees have gone up more than $17,000 compared to the first quarter of 2009.

"We're doing our best to work with residents that are having issues there," Mrs. Scott said.

Other residents, though, appear to be prospering.

Like hoteliers, who have seen more business through the first quarter of 2010 than they did last year.

Revenues collected as a result of the Occupancy Tax have jumped more than $437,000 -- construction projects associated with the new Cherry Hospital and Progress-Energy plant have required out-of-town laborers to stay at local hotels.

"Our hoteliers have definitely seen an increase," Mrs. Scott said. "So that's good news."

But perhaps the best news for those in charge of Goldsboro coffers is that city departments are getting their respective jobs done with less.

As of now, no significant requests for additional funds have been made by department heads -- there have been no fund balance amendments to date, a sign, Mrs. Scott said, that everyone understands the need to do more with less.

"They're doing a great job working with the funds they were allocated," she said.

Mayor Al King was among those pleased with Mrs. Scott's report, particularly in the face of a economy that is far more unstable than those his city has endured in previous years.

"Based on where we are ... I think we're doing quite well," he said.