The Great Recession gave Charleston a rough time. In fiscal year 2010, the city saw business and occupation tax revenue plummet by $1.8 million from 2009.
"Fiscal year 2010 for us was a horrible year," city finance director Joe Estep told the Daily Mail's Jared Hunt. "I mean the bottom fell out."
In fiscal year 2011, city B&O tax collections rebounded by about $800,000, and in fiscal year 2012, which ended in June, that revenue source was up by $1.2 million - to about what it was in 2009, before the nation's financial meltdown.
But there's been a change, and as rough as things have been, it should not go unregistered by the public psyche.
The first three months of the 2013 fiscal year, which ended in September, saw city B&O tax collections rise by $900,000 over the same time period last year. A 10 percent improvement in one's fortunes in one quarter is cause for cautious optimism.
City leaders immediately put about $400,000 of the surplus into reducing the city's unfunded pension liabilities.
That's a responsible use of additional funds - a welcome variation from many governments' spend-it-all, worry-about-debt-tomorrow mentality.