$1.1 million check didn't last long - and that's good
"We all got to touch it," laughed Carol Sparks, clerk at Wellington City offices, as she recalled the rare occasion of handling a $1.1 million check.
The money came as a grant from the state's Permanent Community Impact Board. It did not stay in Wellington very long.
After depositing the check - double- and triple-checking the number of zeroes on the slip - the city wrote another check for a little more than $1.1 million to pay off in full a bond debt to...the Community Impact Board.
It was the legislature's way of making up for an oversight that nearly put the city in default. Four years ago, the state allowed a sales tax break on certain mining equipment and also changed the collection point from point of sale to point of delivery. The impact of those two measures put a double-whammy on the city's budget.
Since a large partince a large part of the city's revenue came from the tax on mining equipment sales, the exemption and change in point of collection caused that revenue to plunge.
The city had to lay off workers to make ends meet and let it be known that there was no way it was going to be able to make the payments on its million-dollar-plus street improvement loan from the CIB.
The legislative fix came as a result of work by Rep. Patrick Painter, who was the House leader of the Legislature's Joint Interim Committee on Revenue and Taxation. Painter and Sen. Curtis Bramble crafted legislation that would authorize the CIB to grant up to $1.1 million to certain cities that met criteria such as huge loss of revenue and small population.
So before the ink was dry on the governor's signature of the new law, Wellington was ready to go with its grant application.
At their last session, the Wellington mayor and council decided that a formal letter of thanks should go to Rep. Painter.