By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A $17.7 million sales tax check marked a turnaround for the City of Tulsa, if only because it could have been much worse.

City Budget Director Pat Connelly said earlier this week the check was expected to be in the $17 million range, and the check came in at $17,782,439. 

The check covers sales tax collected during the period from December 15th to January 15th. 

Connelly told Tulsa city councilors Wednesday that the Christmas sales period is one of the last of the budget year that's subject to much change. 

He said the months following Christmas are usually very predictable as far as sales tax because there are no unusual shopping periods around holidays or school shopping.

The State Tax Commission collected $17,951,146 in sales tax, but charges the City of Tulsa a fee for collections that totaled $179,511 for the month. 

The previous sales tax check totaled $16,978,329, which was an 11.4% drop from the same month last year. 

The City of Tulsa had reported 10 consecutive months of sales tax collection declines before.

The main source of income for the city is sales tax and that's way off from the same time last year.

The city made $17.7 million in sales tax for the month around Christmas. That compares to $19.7 million during Christmas of 2008.

Even more important is that the actual sales tax received came in lower than what the city had in the budget, by a difference of $349,000.

Mike Kier, City Finance Director, says the latest check confirms the need for all of the cuts to the budget made so far.