The city of Glendale has seen a 26% increase in the city’s revenue from 2019 to 2021. The increase is partly thanks to construction permits, sales taxes and “miscellaneous” sources of revenue.
Almost 10 years ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article that listed Glendale as a city with the potential of bankruptcy, like Detroit, a city bankrupt at the time.
Since then, the city has been fiscally conservative and restructuring its debt to ensure that something like that doesn’t happen again. Glendale has also developed and annexed land around the city to boost revenue.
“Even during COVID, we had a lot of construction activity going on. And so, the combination of new revenues coming in... and then re-financing a lot of debt really kind of pulled the city out of that,” assistant city manager Vicki Rios explained of the changes.
Construction work revenue has increased by 112% since 2019. The money comes from an increase in the number of building permits, planning from the city and other construction services.
“Depending on what type of business [the construction] is, it... will generate a lot of ongoing revenue. The general economy [is] doing better... sales tend to increase because people are out spending money... they’re paying more taxes... that we also get a share of,” Rios says.
Total sales tax, excluding property tax, is up 12% in the past two years. Rios attributes this to a better economy and inflation.
The city has been able to bring in more revenue in its miscellaneous categories. Miscellaneous fines and miscellaneous revenue have increased by 878%.
Specifically, the city budget lists in the miscellaneous category a whopping $46.9 million revenue. It makes up 6% of the city’s total revenue this year.
Lisette Camacho, the city’s financial director and a big contributor to the city budget, explained the enormous growth.
“Looks like we had some land sale that occurred... that year. That’s what happened. Sale of land,” Camacho said.
The city explained that the increase also came from federal funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.
The outlook is looking good for next year’s budget. With the pass of President Biden’s infrastructure bill, Glendale will be receiving a considerable sum of federal funds, and the city will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2023.
“We’ve set aside some money... we’ll get more revenue, our costs will be higher... [the Super Bowl Host Committee] is already working way, way ahead,” Rios said.
Editor’s Note: Lydia Curry is a student reporter at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
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