Sales tax revenues in Naperville already have eclipsed the previous high set in 2007, officials say, and the holiday shopping season hasn't even begun.
That's not the only good news for city council members beginning to prepare next year's budget -- the city's income tax revenues have passed $12 million for the first time since 2009 and revenue from real estate transfers also has started to climb, although at a significantly slower pace.
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Finance Director Karen DeAngelis said retail sales have increased in all categories, from auto to apparel, signaling an increase in discretionary spending.
"We are seeing improvements in retail sales across all categories," she said. "People have more taxable income; they have more income, and they are spending it."
But the housing industry, which saw $6 million in real estate transfer tax revenues in 2007, now is struggling to reach $3 million for the first time since 2009.
"At least we're trending in the right direction now. Property is starting to move," DeAngelis said, noting real estate is always the last to rebound from an economic slowdown. "Over the summer months, the number of homes sold in the city has increased significantly."
In all, DeAngelis said, the budget outlook is much brighter than in recent years thanks to a total of $3.725 million in revenue increases and a $1.2 million in savings in health care and workers' compensation costs.
DeAngelis said she expects the city to use that nearly $5 million to pay for half of its projected capital projects without borrowing and have some left to pay down its pension debt.
"That will be a wonderful place to be," DeAngelis said.
The next city budget workshop is scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 10.