Jefferson County residents got two pieces of excellent news last week. First, county commissioners reported sales tax revenue is up substantially over last year's levels.
And second, commissioners took a wait-and-see attitude toward whether that means they can plan to spend more during the 2013 fiscal year.
More than $3.66 million has flowed into county coffers from the 1.5 percent sales and use tax, it was reported. At the same time last year, the tax had generated slightly more than $3.28 million. Clearly, the county's economy is on the upswing, in part because of gas and oil drilling.
But as Commissioner David Maple noted, the county's budget "will still be pretty tight."
Because commissioners budgeted conservatively, more money will give them added flexibility, Commissioner Tom Graham pointed out. Still, it is too early to decide the county, which has operated with a strapped budget for several years, can loosen the purse strings. That attitude is wise, especially in view of warnings the nation may be on the edge of a "double dip" recession.