Uncollected Sales Tax Could Add $1.5 Million To Tulsa City Budget

Monday, December 13th 2010, 7:45 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Some new spending for Tulsa City Government could come from delinquent sales tax, collected after the City complained about the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

Sales tax that had gone uncollected is the major source of $1.5 million in new spending the Mayor's office wants plugged into the city budget.

Read the budget amendment

"We think right now because we are living within our budget and we are managing to save some dollars, this was a good time to start tackling some of these expenses in the midpoint of the year," said Mayor's Chief of Staff Terry Simonson.

Simonson says the mayor's request for new spending is not so much a reflection of better times, but mainly of the state doing a better job collecting taxes.

While the budget amendment totals $1.5 million, the largest single source is $1.2 million in newly collected sales taxes which were delinquent.

"So when we got the $1.2 million dollars in delinquent sales tax money we were not counting on at all, that seemed like a good time to use it for these onetime expenses," Simonson explained.

The new spending would be for costs not expected when the budget was written in early summer.

The largest single cost comes from the closure of city golf courses when the greens didn't grow back as expected. With no golfers paying fees, the city has to make up the difference to keep them going.

That's a $500 thousand loss and that's the largest single expense. There's $400 thousand for outside legal expenses for police, $300 thousand for consultants to improve city planning and $285 thousand in other salaries.

There's also $100 thousand for unemployment insurance costs that came out of the city layoffs. One of the smallest line items is $10 thousand for the mayor's travel budget through next July.

"And we can reduce the reliance on outside donations and gifts for the mayor to do his job," Simonson said.

The budget change comes up for discussion at the city council Tuesday morning.

The proposed addition is the first one from the mayor this budget year. It comes up for discussion at the city council Tuesday morning and several councilors already have objections.