April 2, 2009

City tax collections doing just fine, even if economy isn't

Despite rising unemployment and a sinking economy, city taxpayers are making sure their tax bills get paid.

The tax collector’s office reported this week that 98 percent of the property, personal and motor vehicle taxes due in January were paid, which is the city’s historic pattern even in good times.

“Bristol pays their bills,” city Comptroller Glenn Klocko said.

Mayor Art Ward praised the tax collector’s office for doing “an excellent job” in making sure that payments didn’t fall short.

Collecting taxes at the rate assumed in the city budget is a crucial part of ensuring there’s enough revenue to cover municipal expenses.

City leaders were watching closely this winter to see if tax collections in January – the first major tax period since the collapse of the financial sector last fall – to see if there might be a problem with people paying up.

But it turned out that the concern wasn’t necessary.

John Smith, a Board of Finance commissioner, said that Bristol’s 98 percent collection rate must rank it among the best in the state.

With a $170 million municipal budget, even a small decrease in the collection rate could leave the city short $1 million or more.

As it is, Klocko said he anticipates ending the fiscal year with a small surplus.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Then why is Ward cutting services?

Or is the Comptroller using "government accounting" terminology?

98% due, or 98% budgetted?

There is a difference.

Steve Collins said...

98 cents of ever $1 that people were billed for was paid. That's the rate the budget assumed.

Odin said...

Because property taxes is only one of the many revenue sources that the city relies on. The other sources (education cost sharing; conveyance taxes; town road aid; HUD block grants; etc.) are all way down this year.

scary said...

11:27 - stop attempting to appear intelligent because you only come off as more ignorant than we give you credit for being - which is a lot.

Anonymous said...

Geee, give the tax collectors a bonus!

Anonymous said...

Steve, the question then is: was the amount billed the same as what was estimated to be billed when the budget was pased and the mill rate set?

Next question: with costs up and revenue down, and with a small surplus, just how much did this administration overtax us?

What are we to believe?

Anonymous said...

Taxes are about 60% of revenue.

What is the staus of the other areas of revenue?

Doesn't the city plan for less than 100% collection?

Anonymous said...

Just a thought. I'd think that the proper thanks should go out to the property-owning tax payers who continue to pay their bills in a timely manner despite feeling the ill-effects of this economy.

The purpose of this comment is not to disparage the staff of the tax collectors office.

think - if possible said...

11:27 - maybe because 98% is not 100% plus revenues from permit fees etc. might be less than normal due to the economy - think.

Anonymous said...


What are your property taxes? Go ask mommy.

Anonymous said...


I know the city calculates 100% then budgets for a slightly lesser amount, say 98%. My question is of teh amount collected: is that relative to budgetted or to billed?

Also, it is obvious that other revenues could be down: conveyance tax, fees, state revenues, interest, etc.
What is the status of those. I would hope that he city has an idea as to what should have been received, month by month, as they put their budget together.

Anonymous said...

They are lucky that the DMV won't allow you to (re)-register a vehicle unless your Motor Vehicle taxes are paid. Otherwise I'd never pay mine to be honest. They got me there :)

Anonymous said...

Dig a little deeper Steve, ask some questions!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I've been to City Hall many, many times over the years and I can't honestly say that I've EVER seen any "pitiful wasting" going on.

The only pitiful wasting that I do see is of my time reading your silly comments. (BTW, you can unlock the all caps by hitting the cap lock button again) ;0)

Anonymous said...

Do we have a choice? Some people may have to beg, borrow and yes steal to pay their taxes.

Anonymous said...

Does the Mayor Kloko still think w ewill have a surplus?