Burgess: GRT revenues lower than projected

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By Arin McKenna

The main order of business for the Los Alamos County Council on Tuesday was County Administrator Harry Burgess’ presentation of the quarterly financial report.
Burgess reported that Gross Receipts Tax revenues were lower than originally projected due to federal budget issues continuing to slow Los Alamos National Laboratory spending. GRT projections for FY14 have been updated to include a 5-percent decrease over FY13 actual revenue.
Revenues from user charges are only at 44 percent of FY2014 projections and two percent lower less than FY2013 revenues.
Other revenues were above target, with 72 percent collected in the second quarter.
Expenditures were similar to FY2013 with a few exceptions, such as higher utilities costs due to increased watering at county parks and the golf course to counteract drought conditions.
Flood damage from the September 2013 storm surge also created higher expenditures for Public Works. That budget will be adjusted once Federal Emergency Management Agency and state moneys are received. FEMA will cover 75 percent of the costs for repairs and possible flood mitigation, the state will take up 12.5 percent and the county will be responsible for an additional 12.5-percent.
In other funds, the Lodger’s Tax Revenues are trending better than expected, with 62-percent of the FY14 projected amount collected. This is $25,000 higher than projected for the first half of FY2014 and $4.000 higher than the first half of FY2013.
Most revenues and expenditures are approximately where they should be at the mid-point of the year.
Council also unanimously approved the transfer of the liquor license from former De Colores Restaurant owners Melvin and Joan Duran to the Pajarito Brewpub and Grill. The Durans retired and closed the restaurant last year. Owners of the brewpub will be leasing the Duran license and returning the license they are currently leasing to the owner.
Final approval rests with the State Alcohol and Gaming Division. Council’s approval was necessary for the license to move forward.
Fred Brueggeman was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission by a 5–2 vote. Amy Woods was the other candidate for the vacancy.
Leslie Geyer’s appointment to one of two vacancies on the Personnel Board was approved in the consent agenda.