Town of Winter Park predicts 11 percent revenue decline |

Town of Winter Park predicts 11 percent revenue decline

Will Bublitz/Sky Hi Daily News

— The Town of Winter Park approved a 2009 budget that projects total revenues decreasing by 11 percent – about $840,000. The budget was approved unanimously by the Town Council on Tuesday.

“We based these projections on current trending as well as looking at various economic forecasts and anticipated changes in the local business environment,” town Financial Director Shawn Cordsen said.

About 50 percent of the town’s revenues are from sales taxes. Cordsen said the town has seen a 7 percent drop in sales tax revenues from 2007 to 2008, with the bulk of that decline coming in the second half of this year.

“We’re anticipating an additional 5 percent decline in revenues for sales taxes in 2009,” Cordsen said. “But we also expect some other revenue sources to go down next year.”

In formulating the budget, the town is predicting a further drop in revenue from real estate transfer taxes.

“We anticipate a 47 percent decrease in that source from 2008 to 2009,” Cordsen said. “That’s pretty significant. The real estate market is the hardest hit place in our local economy in recent months. Our projection for this revenue next year is based on historical trending, market forecasts as well as anticipated development and growth.”

Although these revenue sources are predicted to see a decline, Cordsen said the town is confident that its property tax and ownership tax revenues will remain stable.

Because its overall income is expected to go down, the town also plans to spend less in 2009. Next year’s budget has expenditures totaling $7 million compared with $7.6 million in 2007.

The town’s 2009 expenditures will be considerably less than this year’s total of $10.7 million. The reason for that jump in spending in 2008 was due to the redevelopment of Hideaway Park, which is a costing about $4 million.

While the town is cutting back on spending in 2009, town officials emphasize that services will not be affected.

“We’re not cutting back on any services for next year,” Cordsen said.

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