Office of the County Treasurer
Kathy (Seneker) Fairchild
Historic Courthouse - 8-4 Mon-Fri - 417-466-2662
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The County Treasurer handles revenues, distributes tax monies and performs other duties authorized by state statute.
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Updates on county finances
3-20-20: Lawrence County's sales tax revenue remains slightly below this period last year. In the economic aftermath of the current crisis, we anticipate challenges but will be working together to address them.
2-19-20: Lawrence County's sales tax revenue was down slightly in February and is now down slightly for the year. In preparing the 2020 budget, the county anticipated slow or no growth in sales tax since revenue has been trending down. It budgeted $1.53 million for the half-cent general revenue sales tax. In 2018, the tax brought in $1.563 million; and in 2019, $1.556 million.
1-8-20: Lawrence County started the year with a modest increase in sales tax revenue. Lawrence County Clerk Tammy Riebe will present the proposed 2020 budget at a public hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the second floor courtroom of the Historic Courthouse.
12-11-19: Despite a good December payment, Lawrence County is ending the year with $7,357 less sales tax revenue than last year. However, that total is more than the $1.53 million anticipated in the budget. Lawrence County Clerk Tammy Riebe and other county officeholders are currently working on the 2020 budget.
10-10-19: Sales tax was down for the month of October. For the year, it's down close to 1%. Use tax is down nearly 2% for the year.
9-17-19: September was a good month for sales tax revenue though we're still a little behind for the year. Sales tax revenue was down five of the first nine months of 2019.
8-21-19: Sales tax revenue is down for the year.
6-7-19: The County Commission has selected Mid-Missouri Bank as county depository. The county is no longer lagging behind last year on sales tax. With the latest sales tax disbursement, our year-to-date revenue has made it slightly ahead of last year's year-to-date.
4-24-19: The County is in the process of accepting proposals for depository services. The text of our public notice follows:
The Lawrence County Commission is seeking proposals from banking corporations which desire to be selected as the depository of County funds in compliance with RSMo. 110 for a 4 year period, with Lawrence County reserving the right to re-bid within 2 years. Any banking corporation desiring to bid shall deliver a sealed proposal to the County Clerk’s office, 1 Courthouse Square, Suite 101, Mt. Vernon, MO 65712, on or before May 15, 2019. Bids will be opened at 10:00 a.m. in the office of the County Commission on the 16th of May. For bid specifications or additional information, contact Kathy Fairchild, County Treasurer, at 466-2662, P.O. Box 46, Mt. Vernon, MO 65712. The County reserves the right to reject any or all bids. Faxed or emailed bids will not be accepted.
4-11-19: Sales tax was down a bit in April, bringing the year-to-date total at 1.5 percent below last year at this time.
3-15-19: Sales tax revenue was down again in March, leaving Lawrence County's primary revenue source 1.6 percent lower than it was during the same period last year. In budgeting for 2019, the county anticipated the possibility of lackluster sales tax revenue. The 2019 anticipated revenue from the half-cent General Revenue Sales Tax is the same budgeted for 2018: $1.53 million. We were fortunate to finish 2018 a little higher than the budget predicted, with $1,563,276.57 in sales tax revenue.
2-28-19: Sales tax fell dramatically in February; but since it was higher in January, the county's year-to-date is slightly above the same period last year-
1-18-18: Lawrence County's first sales tax revenue of 2019 came in substantially higher than January 2018's unusually low number. It is, however, right in line with earlier January revenue. The county has left its 2019 budget projection at the same level as the 2018 budget - $1.53 million - because of slow growth, some business changes in the county and the impact of online sales. Sales tax is the county's largest source of revenue.
12-20-18: Lawrence County recorded a 2.1 percent unemployment rate in October, according to figures from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The county's General Revenue Sales Tax brought in roughly a little over a half percent more than 2018 than it did in 2017.
10-9-18: Lawrence County's sales tax arrived today, bringing with it a more reserved outlook for the year. Revenue for the half-cent general revenue sales tax was roughly $10,000 less than it was last October. We have two more months and $218,472 to go to reach our budgeted goal of $1.53 million.
9-20-18: Lawrence County was blessed with a strong sales tax month in September, which has helped lift us above our 2017 year-to-date total by a little over 2 percent.
8-31-18: Sales tax revenue was up in August, pushing the year-to-date figures slightly ahead of the same period last year.
7-9-18: The state may have had a jump in sales tax revenue, but here in Lawrence County, we are seeing little change from last year - in fact, we're down a little. A brighter spot on the revenue horizon is use tax, which has been showing steady growth thus far this year. Though it accounts for a much smaller percent of the county's income, we are happy to see the growth. We are still feeling the strain from the large backlog of outstanding reimbursements from the Department of Corrections.
6-20-18: Year-to-date sales tax revenue is running less than a percent higher than the same period last year. Revenues from use tax and property taxes are both up. The backlog of outstanding reimbursements from the Department of Corrections continues to be a concern.
4-30-18: Slowly but surely, our sales tax has been building, so that our year-to-date now totals 1.6 percent more than it did at this time last year.
2-9-18: Sales tax was back up this month, making up for much - but not all - of last month's drop. We are now about $6,000 shy of where we were on YTD sales tax revenue at this time last year. The Law Enforcement Sales Tax is gaining, reaching 95 percent of full collection this month. This is county law enforcement's fourth month of revenue from this sales tax.
1-18-18: Lawrence County's 2018 budget was adopted yesterday, providing a road map for county spending. We have moved into the "Year of Recovery" where we hope to start rebuilding funds depleted during the "Year of Austerity." We had a choppy start with sales tax. January's half-cent General Revenue Sales Tax came in 20 percent lower than last January's. This may have been due to the second December disbursement.
1-4-18: Lawrence County General Revenue ended its 2017 "Year of Austerity" in the black, thanks to continued efforts to keep spending at a minimum and a December burst in revenue,which included state reimbursements and a rare supplemental disbursement of sales and use tax. Work is now under way on the 2018 budget.
12-21-17: A rare supplemental disbursement of sales and use tax this month enabled Lawrence County to meet its sales tax budget for the year. The second supplement was necessary because of issues with a new system implemented by the Department of Revenue this fall.
11-14-17: Lawrence County received its first revenue from the Law Enforcement Sales Tax this month. The initial revenue is $25,346 - less than we had hoped but at least a start. Overall, sales tax and use tax were down again in November. This is the third month in a row the General Revenue Sales Tax has been down from the amount taken in the same period last year.
10-12-17 SALES TAX, REIMBURSEMENTS UPDATE: Lawrence County's half-cent General Revenue sales tax was down again for the month, leaving us a little over a half percent less for the year compared to last year at this time. Use tax was down by more than half; but it is still showing a gain for the year over last year. There has been quite a bit of publicity lately about the state being behind on its reimbursements to counties for inmate costs. Currently, the state owes Lawrence County $109,000 in what we call "Cost Bill" reimbursements. These are for the first part of this year; and the total will grow as the year goes on. We did receive some reimbursements in July 2017 for costs incurred during 2016. We understand we should not expect to receive any more "Cost Bill" reimbursements from the state this year. Delays in these and other reimbursements have been making a difficult fnancial year even more challenging.
10-3-17 UPDATE: Lawrence County's half-cent Law Enforcement Sales Tax went into effect Oct. 1, 2017. Merchants submit the sales taxes they collect to the Missouri Department of Reveue, which processes it and disburses it to the appropriate entities. We hope to see at least a small disbursement in November. Because merchants submit their collections on different schedules, we expect it will be sometime in the first quarter of 2018 before it reaches its full level. Meanwhile, we have just ended another tight month for General Revenue.
9-19-17 UPDATE: Sales tax revenue was down substantially in September; however, that may be due in part to a Department of Revenue change in collection period. Year-to-date we are down less than 1 percent. We budgeted for a 1-1/2 percent increase in 2017.
8-17-17 UPDATE: Sales tax revenue was up again in August, bringing our year-to-date total to 2.9% greater than it was this time last year. Some of the long-awaited state reimbursements have also arrived, though the county is still waiting for others. The county does not expect to start receiving revenue from the new Law Enforcement Sales Tax before November; but, despite budget cuts across all county government offices, Public Safety costs have continued to increase through the year, adding pressure to county finances.
7-11-17 UPDATE: It was a tough June for county finances with revenue down and expenses up over our projections. On the brighter side, sales tax revenue in July is back up after last month's big dip. Year-to-date sales tax is now 2.3% greater than it was this time last year. Use tax also is up for the year. However, state reimbursements, property tax revenue and numerous smaller sources of revenue continue to lag.
6-26-17 UPDATE: The sales tax roller coaster continues, with June 2017 receipts 18% lower ($29,174) than they were in June 2018. Historically, June is one of our biggest months. With these fluctuations, a better barometer is year-to-date revenue. For the first six months of 2017, our sales tax revenue was down 1.4% from the same period in 2016.
5-25-17 UPDATE: May sales tax receipts were up 19% ($18,576), bringing our year-to-date comparison to 3% above the same period last year. Property taxes and state reimbursements continue to fall significantly behind last year at this time.
4-13-17 UPDATE: April sales tax receipts were down 2.7% compared to a year ago. We have now seen decreases in sales tax in 8 of the last 10 months. The use tax is showing some gains, but property taxes and state reimbursements continue to lag. Overall, General Revenue continues to show lower revenue and higher expenses than last year.
4-5-17 UPDATE: Lawrence County voters approved the half-cent Law Enforcement Sales Tax April 4, 2017. We anticipate it will be November 2017 before we see the first revenue from this. If it follows the course of the Justice Center sales tax, it will likely not reach full level until the end of the first quarter of 2018.
3-23-17 UPDATE: Use tax revenue was up in January and February 2017 but down again in March. Sales tax revenue in January was 10% above what was received a year earlier; in February, 1% above; and in March, 7% below the figure from a year earlier. Meanwhile, revenues from property tax collections are down thus far in 2017.
1-24-17 BACKGROUND ON DOWNTURN
Lawrence County has just adopted a difficult budget - with cuts to nearly every office - due to a combination of increased costs and decreased revenue. In my capacity as Lawrence County Treasurer, I focus primarily on the revenue side, closely watching revenue sources and apprising the County Commission and our Chief Budget Officer, the County Clerk, of developments and trends in that area.
Lawrence County General Revenue is heavily dependent on sales tax supplemented by use tax. (Use tax is paid in place of sales tax in certain circumstances.) In recent years that use tax has shown a steady decline, making us even more dependent on sales tax. Then in July 2016, our sales tax also took a dive. Each month we anticipated a recovery that didn't come. Some of our other revenue sources also were down in 2016, but not to the extent of the use tax and sales tax.
Meanwhile, public safety costs in particular have been growing at a faster pace than revenue.
Sales tax had been able to narrow the gap; but when both sales tax and use tax fell simultaneously while expenses continued to grow, it resulted in what County Clerk Gary Emerson accurately described as a "perfect storm."
Our concern has been that the downward trend in sales tax revenue would continue into 2017. While it's too early to say, our January 2017 sales tax receipts, thankfully, were up - though not enough to offset even the previous month's losses. We have been developing tools to provide better insight into what is happening and what might happen in the future.
As we move further into what our County Clerk has dubbed "The Year of Austerity," we will continue to tighten our belts and closely monitor what is happening.
- Lawrence County Treasurer Kathy Fairchild