MARIETTA - It was a good year in 2012 for income tax collection in Marietta, thanks largely to an uptick in oil and gas industry jobs and some major construction projects, according to city treasurer Valerie Holley.
"The income tax was $8,535,495 for the year at the end of December, up 3 percent over last year," Holley said. "The difference was $248,719 above what was collected in 2011."
She noted near-record income tax collections in October and November last year.
"October was $805,646 and November was $794,000. Collections during both months were the highest since 2002," Holley said, adding that the average collections for October between 2007 and 2011 was $698,000.
She said one reason for the increased income tax collection was larger profits for some area businesses.
"Unfortunately that could have been due to some layoffs, too, which would have resulted in more profit for a business," Holley said. "But an influx of oil and gas employment is also boosting the income tax."
In addition there were some larger construction projects in 2012 that included a new McDonald's on Glendale Road, a new Fairfield Inn in the First Colony complex off Pike Street, a new Marietta College residence hall on Seventh Street, the new Marietta Municipal Court and the city's ongoing multi-million-dollar wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
"There's no way of knowing if the income tax collections will continue to increase in the coming year," Holley said. "But another hotel is to be built near the Fairfield Inn, and there are some smaller projects like possible renovation of city hall and the next phase of the Armory Square project."
While an increase of nearly a quarter million dollars over last year is certainly good news for income tax collection, that money has already been spent in the 2013 municipal budget, according to Marietta's assistant safety-service director Bill Dauber.
"But it's being used, helping us meet expenses like supporting the 2.5 percent annual cost of living increases that were part of our last contract agreements with the city's bargaining units," he said. "Council also beefed up the cemetery fund for 2013 and money has been placed in the streets fund to help leverage grant funding for streets projects."
Dauber said the $248,719 income tax increase would also help cover a shortage of about $100,000 in the amount of projected carry forward monies in the general fund going from 2012 into 2013.
"We projected a $1.9 million carry forward, but didn't quite make that as the actual carry forward was $1.8 million," he said. "But if we had not had a nearly quarter million increase in the income tax collection, our carry forward would have been much less."
He said the projected income tax collection for 2013 is slightly up from 2012, to $8.6 million.
"That's only $50,000 to $60,000 more, so it's basically a flat projection," Dauber said.
Still, he said the 2012 increase is good news.
"When you see a delta like that from one year to the next, it has to indicate the tax base is getting bigger and pay rates may be increasing," Dauber added.