BOSQUE FARMS — Village employees in Bosque Farms started July with a 3 percent pay raise, and police officers received an additional dollar an hour.
“Gayle worked extremely hard on the budget this year,” said Bosque Farms Mayor Wayne Ake about village Clerk/Administrator Gayle Jones. “I think our employees will be a little happier than we’ve been able to make them in the last few years.”
The village councilors unanimously approved the pay increases at their June meeting, as well as the 2019-20 preliminary budget for the village.
The councilors also approved an ordinance enacting a gross receipts tax increase on goods and services within the village.
Jones said the new GRT was approved by the state Legislature in the 2019 session, and equals an additional .3625 percent.
The new GRT rate for Bosque Farms of 8.55 percent will take effect January 2020.
“We were conservative in our (revenue estimates) but it certainly did help out the general fund,” Jones said.
The state tax and revenue department projected more than $250,000 in new revenue for the village from the tax, but Jones increased the budget by only $100,000.
“We figure every other municipality is going to jump on this, and (the GRT rates) are all going to get up there,” Jones said. “That’s the downfall of municipalities and counties being so dependent on GRT rather than anything else. We’re all dependent on GRT unfortunately, unlike a lot of other states.”
Ake said implementing the additional .3625 GRT keeps the village from needing to raise property taxes, as well as allowing it to give employees the much-needed raise.
“Our employees have stuck with us for many years, with very small raises or none,” the mayor said.
Jones said this was the second year the village was able to give employees a 3 percent increase, but there have been several years where the budget was completely flat.
Another source of revenue for the village’s general fund is a new GRT the state is sharing with municipalities from remote sales made online during the last two years.
“After we get that portion, anything shipped to this zip code from an online sale will be taxable to us,” Jones said.
The state tax and revenue department estimated the village would receive about $44,000 for the two years the state didn’t share remote sales GRTs.
“They said they set aside that amount to share for the two years, then it kicks in (for us) in 2022,” Jones said.