The Edmond Sun

October 1, 2012

Enid sales tax returns again up

Kevin Hassler
The Edmond Sun

ENID — Enid businesses enjoyed another double-digit increase in net

taxable sales, based on September sales tax distributions to cities and

towns from Oklahoma Tax Commission.

The current figures represent local tax receipts from spending in late July

and early August. Net taxable sales in Enid during that period were nearly

$12 million higher than the same period in 2011.

According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were

up 19.3 percent over sales during the same period in 2011. That continues a

trend of double-digit increases every month this year except February.

The city of Enid received $2,562,622 from OTC in September, an increase of

$414,489 over last year. That represents an increase in taxable sales at

Enid cash registers of $11,842,543 more than last year.

Enid Mayor Bill Shewey attributes the sales tax to several areas including

oil and gas, but also the fact Enid is a regional shopping center, medical

and educational center, and the wind energy play ongoing in the area.

“People come to Enid to do their shopping,” Shewey said. “It’s a combination

of all of them with medial and educational facilities all going on in Enid.

It’s all very positive.

“It’s nice that it’s happening; we need to keep our best foot forward.”

Shewey said there is a formula for use of the sales tax, which helps the

city, the police and fire departments and a mix of those who receive it.

Right now, the mix is very positive, he said.

“It will help with everything we’re doing in the city, and it’s very

positive,” Shewey said.

Assistant City Manager Joan Riley said the city receives 3.5 percent of the

sales tax. Of those funds, 1 percent goes to water development debt,

one-quarter percent to public safety and one-quarter percent to public

schools. The remaining 2 percent goes into the general fund.

City Manager Eric Benson said the taxes go to pay for streets, the library,

general government and budgeted items in those areas. Sales tax is not used

for utilities.

Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director, said

the sales tax helps attract new retail business to the city and also helps

with industrial contacts.

“It wasn’t two years ago we put together a list of retailers we would like

to have, and spent time sharing the message. Now it’s almost to a point

where they are calling us because they recognize the growth in the area

could last for several years,” Kisling said.

Enid’s story isn’t just for the Enid census tract, but a regional shopping

center of 131,000 people and one of the top 10 sales tax cities in the

state.

Those numbers also help in industrial recruitment. Kisling said no industry

wants to go to a place that is dying and fading away.

“The sales tax shows there are things going on here,” Kisling said.

Enid is not alone in the upward trend. Net taxable sales have been up

throughout northwest Oklahoma all year.

The city of Alva recorded a 113 percent increase — $7,163,529 — in net

taxable sales for the July-August period compared to a year ago. This was

the largest increase by far among county seats in northwest Oklahoma.

Cherokee reported the next-best performance, a 57.7 percent increase —

$1,350,246 — in net taxable sales for the period.

Other net taxable sales increases by percentage and dollar amounts for

county seats in northwest Oklahoma were: Woodward, 25.7 percent, $6,614,400;

Fairview, 32.2 percent, $1,044,575; Medford, 46.4 percent, $662,775; and

Kingfisher, 9.5 percent, $690,833.

Only Watonga recorded a decline in net taxable sales. The Blaine County seat

saw a decline of 17.5 percent, or $581,760 less in sales.



Staff writer Robert Barron contributed to this story.