Tulsa, Ok – Mayor Dewey Bartlett said today the City of Tulsa's sales tax for mid-September to mid-October, as reported by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, are above last year's totals for the same period and above the budget estimates for the month.
Mayor Bartlett said he is still cautious about being too optimistic at this point, because the gain is partially attributed to an increased effort to collect overdue sales taxes. Mayor Bartlett has voiced concerns with the lagging Oklahoma Tax Commission collections, and has sought alternatives including hiring a private contractor. Since the discussions began earlier in his term, the OTC has stepped up its efforts.
"We certainly welcome the increases in sales tax collections, and we applaud the Oklahoma Tax Commission on its efforts to improve on the collection of delinquent taxes," said Bartlett said. "But it is important to note that without the additional collections we would still just be about even with last year, when revenues were significantly below previous years."
"We're not out of the woods yet," the mayor cautioned. "We must continue to be conservative in our spending approach and increase efficiency of government service delivery."
Actual sales tax received is $16,163,053, up 6.7 percent, or slightly more than a million dollars, from the $15,145,911 collected during the same period last year. The conservative, projected budget estimate for the period was $15,236,000.
For the year to date, sales taxes received total $82,984,920, or $1,648,945 above the $81,335,975 collected to this point last year.
City Finance Director Mike Kier confirmed that those efforts, for the first four months of the fiscal year, resulted in collecting an additional $1.6 million for Tulsa.
"Without those additional collections of delinquent taxes, and in some cases taxes that were owed for several years, we would not be ahead of last year."
Kier noted that the $1.6 million reflects the additional collections for the July-October disbursements to Tulsa and not for the November check.
Use taxes again exceeded last year's total, but remained below the projected budget estimate for the period. Use taxes collected for the mid-September to mid-October period totaled $1,418,498. That was up from the $1,339,307 collected in the same period last year, but below the $1,451,000 projected by Tulsa's financial staff.
For the year to date, use taxes collected total $6,944,051, down 1.3 percent from the $7,037,753 collected for the same period last year.