By Tim Farley, News Editor – In less than two years, Yukon’s finances have gone from rags to riches.
In March 2016, Jim Crosby returned to his position as city manager with less than $100 in a general fund reserve account. Since then, the fund has been steadily rebuilt and now has more than $3 million.
Recently, Crosby talked to city council members about Yukon’s finances and the money in each account.
“We’re ahead of where we should be,” Crosby said, referring to the general fund reserve account. “Going from nothing to $3 million is a good benchmark in such a short time period.”
City officials hope to have $6.5 million in the reserve account within the next three years.
“We’re halfway there,” Crosby said. “I’d be happy if we could get there in the next two and half years. If the economy stays consistent like it is now, I think we’ll get there. We’re still keeping a very conservative operation so we don’t have to worry about it.”
Crosby said Yukon citizens should know city officials are being “responsible and our books are in order.”
In June, the reserve account had $2.4 million. Last month, the account showed $3 million.
Twenty-five percent of a 1 percent sales tax goes to the reserve account. That money cannot be used for anything for council-certified emergencies until the account reaches a level equal to 25 percent of the previous year’s revenues. After that threshold is met, those funds can be deposited in the city’s general fund.
Crosby replaced former City Manager Grayson Bottom, who is embroiled in legal battles with the city over financial transactions that occurred during his tenure at Yukon. Bottom was terminated in December 2015 and is now suing Yukon for alleged breach of contract and failure to give him severance pay.
The city has filed a counterclaim against Bottom alleging the former city employee misled the city council about Yukon’s finances and violated state law in connection with bid splitting and maintaining a state mandated balanced budget. The city claims Bottom, on more than one occasion, used restricted funds to pay operating expenses.
The Public Employee Safety Tax (PEST) funds have continued to climb for the police and fire departments and general employees. In June, total for the police department account was $343,464. In November, the account had grown to $451,204. The fire department account grew from $166,102 in June to $239,213 in November.
The money for the two public safety agencies comes from a 1 percent sales tax residents pay.
In addition, Yukon’s hotel/motel tax is showing steady growth, climbing from $444,515 in June to $550,518 in November. Yukon levies a 5 percent tax on the rental of all hotel and motel rooms. The money is used, in part, for economic development, convention and tourism, parks and recreation, some personnel costs and as a pledge for indebtedness.
The pooled cash account, which is the city’s primary account, stood at $2.3 million in June, but grew to almost $3.8 million in November. The account is funded with utility payments and tax collections. Most of the city’s expenses, including payroll and most expenses, are paid through this account.