But a quarterly report compiled by consultant Hinderliter, de Llamas
and Associates said accounting adjustments and a large one-time payment
made during the first quarter of 2000, skewed the results.
"If you take out all the anomalies, sales only fell by 1.3%, said Ron
Ahlers, a senior financial analyst with the city. "It basically held
Nevertheless, it was the first quarterly decline since the third
quarter of fiscal year 1995-96, said Bob Franz, the city's director of
finance and administrative services.
"It tells us there is a slowing in the local economy, that people
aren't spending money," Franz said.
The report, which breaks down revenue by economic sector and gauges
trends, showed that sales tax revenue generated by the sale of general
consumer goods during the first quarter of 2001 rose by more than
$290,000 over the same quarter last year.
During that period, sales tax receipts from radio and appliance
outlets jumped 101%, from $93,587 last year to $188,219
But sales tax revenue generated from the business and industry group
fell by nearly $600,000, from about $1.3 million during the first quarter
of 2000 to $711,065.
The slowdown didn't come as a surprise to Franz, who said sales tax
revenue accounts for about 5% of the city's general fund.
"It's something that had been predicted by most economists," he said.
"We'll be closely monitoring the next two or three quarters."
Still, it's too soon to panic, he said.
"If we had three quarters of decline in a row, that would indicate a
permanent slowdown," Franz said. "But until that happens there is not
really reason to be overly concerned."
* The city collected $6.3 million in sales tax revenue during the
first quarter of 2001, compared to $6.6 million over the same period in
2000, a drop of 5.1%. It marked the first quarterly decline since the
1995-96 fiscal year.
During the first quarter of 2001, the city collected $1,846,093 in
sales tax revenue from auto dealers. The dealersmake up nine of the
city's top 10 producers.