Local & Regional
2:13 pm
Fri August 6, 2010

Sales Tax Numbers Increase

Tulsa, OK –
The City of Tulsa's sales tax collections for mid July to mid August, as reported by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, are slightly above last year's and higher than budget predictions.

Actual sales tax received is $17,116,149 compared to the $16,849,105 collected during the same period last year, which is a 1.58% increase. The budget estimate for the period was $15,979,000.

Use taxes collected for the mid-July to mid-August period totaled $1,456,684. That was down 11.17 percent from the $1,639,887 collected for the same period last year and is 1.09 percent above the projected amount of $1,441,000.

"It is always good to be over revenue budget predictions, but we still have an entire fiscal year left," Mayor Bartlett said. "As we continue to restore certain services to the citizens from past budget reductions, we have to remain cautious on spending. We need to remember that within the next 12-18 months, more than $18 million to $20 million will be needed to cover one-time revenue sources (grants) that will expire in FY12, as well as increased expenses in areas such as pensions and health benefits. We need to remain conservative in our spending in order to have efficient funds to cover the costs of these ongoing expenses once the grants and other one-time allocations expire."

Included in the general fund costs for next year will be police salaries now funded by the JAG Grant, healthcare and pension cost increases and funding for transit programs currently being paid by stimulus grants.

"The City had several painful budget and service level reductions last fiscal year as the result of declining revenue," Mike Kier, Finance Director said. "No similar reductions are likely this year with the budget that is in place. There are still significant issues longer term from the lack of ongoing revenues to offset temporary grants and other one-time revenues as well as currently unaddressed costs."

The Council approved budget changes of $2.8 million in June for services to be restored from a one-time funding source, the city's carry forward balance from the previous fiscal year. Without specific information on the fund balance available, Mayor Bartlett vetoed a portion of the proposed city budget that used a one-time funding source to pay for new, ongoing expenditures. The council overrode that veto and Mayor Bartlett emphasized a cautious approach until the amount of the fund is known with certainty and not an estimate. The Finance Department is expected to have the fund balance total early next week.