Bull market is beefing up county coffers

March 07, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County has received $1.1 million more from income taxes for the first half of the fiscal year than county officials had projected, officials say.

County Finance Director Debra Bastian said Thursday that a booming stock market the past couple of years has resulted in higher payments.

The county has received $14.7 million from income taxes, an 8 percent increase over the $13.6 million projected to come in during the period, Bastian said.


The county had projected $28.6 million in receipts for the year, Bastian said.

Washington County Board of Education employees Wednesday night urged the County Commissioners to use the unanticipated funds for the school system.

But County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the state has projected declining income tax revenue in future months. Unless the stock market continues to rise and more capital gains income is generated, the revenue will decrease, Snook said.

"It might show a surplus now, but at the end of the year, it might just balance out," Snook said.

Snook also said the county income tax receipts were in better shape than those of other counties because of low unemployment.

County Commissioner James R. Wade said the county should wait before spending what might turn out to be a small surplus.

"The next (income tax payment) could come in under budget," Wade said. Even if there is a surplus, the county will need to evaluate the needs of all departments, not just education, he said.

Bastian said that income tax receipts have been hard to predict in the past, with some years receipts coming in $1 million below projections.

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