Financial statements obtained by The Paintsville Herald for the City of Paintsville’s actual revenues and expenses for the 2017-2018 fiscal year show multiple city departments operating under budget and over $1 million in grants.

Despite that, however, the Paintsville Tourism Commission did not see a similar financial result, something officials said came despite tourism growth.

Tourism sees less income, more expenses than predicted

The Paintsville Tourism Commission, funded primarily through a restaurant/motel tax, and both collected restaurant taxes and motel taxes fell short of the budget, by $14,517 and $2,202, respectively. The revenue earned by the SIPP Theatre and other sources, however, outpaced predictions, making the overall revenue less than $10,000.

The commission’s $821,467 in expenses also outstripped the budgeted $818,674. This comes despite the commission giving the City of Paintsville approximately $33,000 less than it had budgeted and spending $10,000 less than it had budgeted for promotion. 

This discrepancy comes from paying approximately $10,000 more than budgeted office costs $21,000 more than budgeted for special events, $3,000 more than budgeted in event sponsorships, $19,000 more than budgeted on SIPP Theatre costs and $1,000 more than budgeted on utilities.

Paintsville Tourism Executive Director Josh Johnson said the lean year did not come without its share of expansion and growth.

“One thing I heard so much, especially when I first started, was that ‘There’s nothing to do’ and ‘There’s nowhere to go.’ We are trying to do a lot of new and different things, so there are things for people to do,” Johnson said. “Money is tight and people don’t vacation like they used to, but we’re trying to make the best with what we’ve got — and that’s why we’re trying to do more local stuff, and get local people involved and give back to the community, because we would not be here if not for them.”

Johnson said another major priority of his this year has been putting together a comprehensive travel package for visiting tour groups, including the “Butcher Holler” home of Loretta Lynn as well as the Mountain Homeplace.

“We’re just trying to extend hospitality and go above and beyond,” Johnson said.

City of Paintsville on firm footing

Paintsville’s budget numbers show the city was able to underspend in most departments.

“One thing about budget’s that’s just plain common sense: You cannot spend more than you have. You can’t balance a budget by overspending,” said Mayor Bill Mike Runyon. 

The 2017-2018 fiscal year’s income for the city came in at $1.4 million more than the projected $8.4 million. Those revenues included $1.72 million in occupational taxes (more than the $1.67 million budgeted), $572,367 in property taxes (short of the budgeted $644,800, though that number carried over to the 2018-2019 budget), $283,169 in restaurant and motel taxes (short of the $313,118 budgeted for the year, a figure amended to $250,000 for 2018-2019), $60,862 in golf course membership dues (compared to a budgeted $75,000, also carried over to the new year’s budget) and $78,280 in golf course green fees (more than the projected $75,000).

Other revenue streams that are far from budgeted amounts include approximately $48,000 more in franchise taxes than the budget predicted, approximately $22,000 more in firefighter incentive pay and more than $96,000 extra in “other receipts.” 

But by far the largest changes between the city’s actual revenues and its budget are grants that the city could not guarantee being obtained, including $320,819 in Homeland Security grants for the fire and EMS departments and $725,635 for a hazard mitigation grant.

“We work with Regina McClure and the Big Sandy Area Development District for most of our grant-writing, and to be honest with you, if it wasn’t for them I don’t know where we’d be,” Runyon said.

City expenses largely under budget

As for expenses, the city’s general administration expenses came in at or under budget in most departments, including approximately $14,000 lower employee benefits costs, $9,000 in electricity savings and budgeting $3,000 for the mayor’s expenses when only $64.20 was spent. Despite having an unplanned $696,525 in hazard mitigation grant money paid out under the administation’s expenses, the department came out only approximately $400,000 over its total budget, though the expense figures do not account for the estimated $91,880 paid out to cover a shortfall in the account for the city’s 911 center.

The city’s sanitation expenses came in approximately $97,000 under budget, while the fire and EMS department came in $453,000 over budget, due primarily to spending $325,000 in unanticipated grant money. The fire/EMS department also paid out $79,000 more than budgeted in salaries and $52,000 more than budgeted in overtime.

The city street department came in approximately $55,000 under budget, the police department approximately $63,000 under budget, the recreation department $18,000 under budget and the golf course nearly $33,000 under budget, though it still operated at a loss subsidized in part by $169,000 in restaurant/motel tax funds from the Paintsville Tourism Commission.

Other city expenses subsidized by tourism include $129,000 in recreation expenses, $10,000 for fireworks, $2,240 for decorative lighting, $1,775 for hanging baskets and $1,979 for the Garden Club.

“I know we have to overspend in some of our city departments, because when it comes to things like recreation and our golf course… we have to have some things for people to do,” Runyon said. “I think eventually that we’re going to be able to have some of these departments maybe not fully self-sustaining, but get pretty close.”

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