In a follow up to a story we brought you Tuesday night, the City of Lubbock will likely be forced to make some budget cuts in the near future. For the first time in four years, the city sales tax revenue has gone down three months in a row. City manager, Bob Cass says if action isn't taken now their could be some serious consequences.
The sales tax revenue makes up 37% of the city's general fund budget. This money pays for things like our city parks, streets, libraries, fire and police. City Manager Bob Cass says the ideal situation is for the sales tax revenue to increase, but in the meantime he's taking precautions.
On Monday, Cass sent a message out to his department telling his staff to be watchful. In August, September, and October the sales tax revenue experienced a downward trend. Next month it may continue to decline, or it could go the other way. Cass says step two includes assessing the magnitude of the trend. For instance, in October revenue was down about $123,000 from October of the previous year.
Cass says that is a lot of money but not that significant in comparison to the $94-million general fund budget. Cass is also asking city staff to look at possible ways to cut their budgets. This could mean a possible hiring freeze.
"What you're constantly doing is you're looking at all your options so to point to a particular department and say this will be cut is a little premature to say that. Theres always vacancies in the city organization so the fact that you hold them or drag them out longer is not really necessary unusual," says City Manager, Bob Cass.
On January 8th, the city will have an all day work session where the council will look at the city's financial status. At that point they will be able to see how the sales tax revenue is going. By the way, NewsChannel 11 spoke with officials from the State Comptrollers office in Austin on Wednesday. They tell us other major Texas cities are also experiencing a downward trend in sales tax revenue.