PALMDALE — In its first two months of collections, the city sales tax approved by Palmdale voters in November, collected just under $2.5 million, about $500,000 short of projections for the entire three-month period of the fiscal year, according to the 2020-2021 financial report.
The year-to-date report was presented to members of the Measure AV Oversight Committee, the seven-member citizens’ Board appointed to oversee the sales tax’s use.
Measure AV sets a three-quarter-cent sales tax within the city of Palmdale, the revenue of which are to be used locally.
After being approved with more than 60% of the vote in the Nov. 3 election, the sales tax went into effect on April 1. However, sales tax revenue has about a two-month lag from when it is collected through the state and received by the city, according to the staff report.
The city anticipated $3 million in revenue in this inaugural year, for the period of April through the end of the fiscal year on June 30. For April and May, it received $2.43 million, according to the report.
“June could be higher than May,” Finance Manager Keith Kang said.
The city spent $152,443 so far, “the vast majority” of that was for the Wellbeing Lab project designed to promote positive mental health.
“We are in the beginning stage for Measure AV, so you can see we have not spent much,” he said.
In addition to the Wellbeing Lab, some Measure AV funds have also been used to support project development, Deputy City Manager Mike Behen said.
The city budget projects $15.5 million for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year, the first full year the sales tax will be collected.
In future reports, the Committee requested more specifics on spending, rather than broad categories.
At this point, with the program in its infancy, there are no items specified for spending, yet, as the Committee and staff are still collecting that information. For example, a citywide grant program is part of that process and those grants have not yet been awarded.
“We should be able to do that on an ongoing basis. We’re just not there yet,” Kang said.