Sales tax numbers get big audit bump, business growth updated

John Bitter, owner of Frontier Veterinary Hospital, accepts the Business Incentive grant check from EDC Director Kyle Reeves (left) and Mayor Ronald A. White (right).
John Bitter, owner of Frontier Veterinary Hospital, accepts the Business Incentive grant check from EDC Director Kyle Reeves (left) and Mayor Ronald A. White (right).

by A.C. Hall

After thirteen straight months of sales tax revenues coming in below projections, the White Settlement Economic Development Corporation received good news at their May meeting.  Finance Director Phil Bray informed the EDC that sales tax revenues for April 2016 came in 136 percent above April 2015, hitting $153,441 instead of the $64,809 collected during April 2015.  
While the high number was a welcome sight for the City, Bray did make it clear that it was only this high due to outside factors.
“That’s a result of the audit adjustment,” Bray said.
The actual sales tax number for April was estimated to be around half of the reported $153,441, which would have put it slightly above projections for the month.  While the audit adjustment may be a one time thing, Bray said it will go a long way in helping the overall revenues.
“We should be able to make the budget,” Bray said.
The budget projects sales tax revenues of $965,291.  Currently, EDC sales tax revenue stands at $642,798.
During his presentation of EDC financials, Bray also addressed the debt service payments on Splash Dayz water park.  He said that $115,000 per month is being put towards paying the debt service on the $12 million bond that funded construction of Splash Dayz.
Cherry Lane business update
Economic Development Director Kyle Reeves gave his monthly report and shared several updates on businesses along Cherry Lane.  “It’s been a fairly busy month for us,” Reeves said.
Reeves referenced discussions with several companies as he began his report.  He informed EDC board members that a new roofing company will be coming to the city soon.
As his report focused on Cherry Lane, Reeves had several items of news to share.  He spoke about a company looking seriously at moving into the long vacant Conn’s building next to Academy.  The company is reportedly looking to sign a five year lease.
Speaking of Academy, Reeves said the company will be spending over $1 million to do some remodeling of their store.
An interested party has been found for the long vacant Taco Bell building on Cherry Lane.  Reeves said that discussions are ongoing with the potential buyer. Co-Operative Industries already operates a large facility on Cherry Lane but may soon construct another.  Reeves stated that the company is looking to build a large building in front of their current one.
Other news
Parks and Recreation Director Rich Tharp gave his monthly report.  Tharp told the EDC that the popular movies in the park program will be starting up in June.  Every Friday night through the summer sees movies being shown in the park free of charge.Tharp also spoke about several upcoming baseball and softball tournaments that will be held in the city parks in the month of June.
A Business Incentive Grant in the amount of $5,967 was presented to Frontier Veterinary Hospital for functional improvements made to their property.
“It really is a lot nicer looking over there,” Mayor Ronald A. White said.