Although only a single month does not a trend make, there are signs that city revenues this year should be stronger than in 2009, finance director Catherine Armstrong told Upper Arlington City Council during its regular meeting Monday night.

Although only a single month does not a trend make, there are signs that city revenues this year should be stronger than in 2009, finance director Catherine Armstrong told Upper Arlington City Council during its regular meeting Monday night.

"The news to report is the income tax," she said. "We did have, after a couple of months that were not so good toward the end of 2009, we have collected in January more than anticipated. But most of that came in net profits."

Some of the good numbers do not reflect actual economic substance, but are merely the result of timing issues, Armstrong said.

"What was reported last year versus this year, there are some companies that made payments but had not made payments last year," she said. "We know that we were under a situation last year where people were not only not making net profit estimates, but they were asking for profits back that they had overpaid for the year before.

"Hopefully," she said, "that's a good trend that shows business are making a little more profit and will be paying into that category."

Ordinary payroll withholding, on the other hand, was down about 5 percent, but a single month is not by itself significant, she said.

"With one month in, it doesn't necessarily create a trend for the year," Armstrong said.

On the expenditure side, Armstrong said the report for January activity also showed timing issues.

"Since over 80 percent of our budget is salary and benefits to employees, it's going to deal with the timing of paychecks," she said. "We could have in one month three pay periods; last year it was two (pay periods). We're paid 26 times a year, biweekly. We're running on a monthly basis, not a quarterly basis, as far as expenses go."

Other expenditures also rise and fall according to irregular circumstances, Armstrong said, citing salt usage as an example.

"A lot of that additional money being spent that's not personnel is probably salt, when it comes to January," she said. "Using a couple year average gives you a pretty good mirror of what portion of that budget you would expect to have spent at this point in the year."

Armstrong also reported that the city recycling program is in a state where the city must pay to dispose of recycled goods, rather than receive income from the program. The fee is $10 per ton.

The customary budget report reflects variance between the actual expenditures and the projected budget, and council president Frank Ciotola asked that Armstrong include the variance report for the past five-year period.

"One thing I'm interested in seeing is, we have the last five years actual, but I'd be interested in seeing what was projected and what we came up with actually, for the last five years running," Ciotola said.

Armstrong also reported that the city made its annual expenditure to replenish the economic development fund to the approved $500,000 level. This year required an expenditure of $156,000 to reach that amount.

In other business, council gave the third and final reading to an amendment to its sex offender registration law, establishing a misdemeanor penalty in lieu of an improper felony penalty, and heard a Stay UA committee report announcing the selection of National Church Residences as the contractor for the senior support program.

"National Church Residences is the second largest private company in Upper Arlington, which means we are going to be working with one of our own," said council member Mary Ann Krauss. "They have facilities in 27 states and several foreign countries, so this is no small organization. We felt this was our best hope of long term sustainability."