PROSSER -- Prosser got some unexpected good financial news last week.
ConAgra Foods, the processing giant that shuttered its Prosser potato plant last year, unwittingly gave the city of Prosser a parting gift.
ConAgra, which employed more than 200 Prosser workers, had been participating in a state sales tax deferment program since buying the facility in 2007. In July, the company paid off three years of deferred taxes -- more than $70,000 -- at once.
The payment -- which showed up on the city's monthly report for September -- single-handedly boosted sales tax revenues by 82 percent over the same month last year, said Charlie Bush, city administrator, in a weekly memo he sends to the city council members.
Sales taxes account for roughly a third of the city's general operating budget, which pays for most salaries and day-to-day operations of the city.
Bush is advising the council to put most of the money in reserves.
The ConAgra's May 2010 closure spelled the loss of about $407,000 in city revenue in the form of water payments and utility taxes.