Revenue from sales tax and water sales is nearly $800,000 below what had been projected in the City of Brownwood’s current budget. And while the city can make up some of the deficit before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, a revenue shortfall that large makes it difficult to plan the new budget.
    That was message Finance Director Walter Middleton delivered to Brownwood City Council members Tuesday morning in a budget budgetary control report for the period ending June 30.  
    The city expects to publish City Manager Emily Crawford’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-’18 Friday, Middleton said.
    Sales tax revenue for the current fiscal year is $335,000 below the budget projection, and water sales revenue is $456,000 below budget for a total of $791,000, Middleton told council members.
    “Nine months of the fiscal year is gone and we’re in the middle of trying to deal with a couple of large revenue shortfalls,” Middleton said. “ … That’s a pretty large hurdle to deal with when it comes to everything related to budgeting and cash management. As we take that into account for next year’s budget, that becomes another hurdle to overcome.”
    Middleton did not offer any details on what might or might not be included in Crawford’s proposed budget.
    Middleton said he’s worked with city budgets for 19 years as finance director and five years when he was a city council members, and the 2017-’18 budget is one of the most difficult budgets he’s worked on.
    “Probably two out the last three years have been the easiest budgets that I’ve worked on,” Middleton said. “Last year was a little bit of a struggle but not that bad. This is in the top three … this is one of the most difficult ones that I’ve had to deal with.”
    Referring to sales tax revenue, Middleton said the city had some good news in July. Revenue from sales tax was up 12 percent over July 2016, he said. For six of the 10 months of the fiscal year, revenue has been down and when it has been up, it’s been anomalies or small amounts.    
    Referring to water sales revenue, Middleton said, “We’ve got our three big months coming along. If the performance from he last two months continues, we are going to be able to make a lot of that up and that obviously will help in this year’s budget.
    “It’ doesn’t help in next year’s budget too much because we have to make projections based on what we know right now, and what we know right now is that our performance hasn’t been that great.”