How big can the city’s Sewer Fund deficit really get? Portsmouth City Auditor Trent Williams read the city’s operating budget report to Portsmouth City Council Monday and the Sewer Fund continues to be the millstone around the neck of the city’s budget.
The latest figures, through August, show the city’s Sewer Fund $1,325,026 in the hole. To make matters worse, it is $487,215 deeper in the hole than last year at the same time.
Williams told the Daily Times the new rate increase should affect that deficit.
“The rate increase was put on,” Williams said. “The letter went out. It was put in people’s bills. I think it was in my last water bill. It is intended to bring that fund back into balance by the end of next year, 2017.”
The city’s Water Fund also remains in a deficit status – $170,907 dollars in the red though it is $128,921 up from last year’s deficit of $299,828.
The bright spot in the operating fund is the General Fund which stands at $1,570,335. Last year that fund had a $349,097 deficit, which means it is up $1,919,432 over last year.
The Streets Fund currently stands at $336,592 in the black. Last year that fund had a deficit balance of $93,959. The Sanitation Fund is at $736,369, up $327,734 over the previous year and the Insurance Fund has a balance of $253,749 and shows a 2015 balance of $2,145,578, though Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen disputes those figures.
“(City Manager) Derek (Allen) and I were just talking about that,” Williams said. “We moved all of the operating funds into the Insurance Fund. I’m not sure if that’s the reason, but from memory I’m thinking that’s why that is such difference from last year at this time.”
In the same report, Williams reported the total General Fund income tax collections for August were $808,174, up $102,998 over the same month last year for an accumulated total compared to last year of $1,748,357. New tax revenue collected from the additional 0.5 percent increase stands at $180,572.
Total income tax collections for August were $918,930, up $88,939 over the same month last year for an accumulated total compared to last year of $1,819,845.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.