As the current fiscal year winds down, the Cumberland County Finance Department has been busy evaluating the performance and efficiency of the past year’s budget. “We’re kind of on pause for right now,” Finance Director Nathan Brock told 1057 News this morning. He explained once the county Equalization Board session closes, he’ll have a better idea where the county stands. “We’re kind of waiting for the year to close; the longer you wait, the more accurate your numbers get on expenditures,” he said.
Brock noted the growth in real-estate values in the county over the past year is a good indicator of fiscal health. “That includes homes to commercial development and industrial development,” he said. “We wait until the Equalization Board adjourns and we compare the growth rate. Usually it’s a modest growth – one and an half to three percent – year over year.”
Part of the board’s function is to discuss projected revenues in terms of what’s called the tax penny, which is a unit of measure for revenue. “How much revenue does a tax penny generate?” is a pretty standard question among government finance offices.
“Every industry has its own language; and that’s county-government and city-government language,” Brock said, explaining that when a one-cent tax is applied, that penny brings in a particular sum of money overall, when spread across the total number of payees. Brock said he develops a spreadsheet that tracks how much one penny of tax can be expected to generate. Based on those figures, the finance department can help determine its budget. “That’s the basis they work off of for the ’18-19 budget as one of the revenue sources,” he said. “Those are the numbers we use, trying to get the best budget we can.”