Sales Tax Revenues Put To Reality Check

Wednesday, May 13th 2009, 5:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6

UNDATED -- Tulsa isn't the only city feeling a pinch from the down economy.  Reduced sales tax revenues are to blame.  The News On 6 put cities around Tulsa to a reality check to see how they're dealing with less help from the state.

The figures from mid-March to mid-April represent money the cities are getting from the state.  The largest drop came in Bixby which is receiving $589,000, down 16% from the same time last year.

Officials say the difference can be blamed on an extremely high figure last year and construction on Memorial made shopping in Bixby very difficult.

The City of Broken Arrow is getting $2.4 million, a drop of less than 1% from last year.  A spokesman credits new stores near Kenosha and the Broken Arrow Expressway for preventing a larger drop.

The news wasn't quite as good for Sand Springs.

"It was actually worse than anticipated," said Sand Springs City Manager Doug Enevoldsen.

The city received more than $740,000, 14% less than last year.  The city manager says the loss in sales tax revenue means a potential hiring freeze and layoffs which, he said, is better than raising taxes.

"There are circumstances where a tax increase can be justified and we would go forward with that. But, one of our budgetary principles is to live within our means," said Sand Springs City Manager Doug Enevoldsen.

The News On 6 also checked with the City of Sapulpa, where revenues were down 10%, but the city says it's still under budget for the year.      

Jenks reports it is down 11%.

The only city to see an increase was Owasso, which received more than a million dollars, that's 7% more than a year ago.  City officials say new shopping areas played a small role, but the main reason for the increase is that a major retailer was late in reporting the previous month and the number may be a bit misleading.

Other than Sand Springs, the other cities The News On 6 spoke with say the lost revenue is not having any major impacts on their budgets.