By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Retail sales continued to be strong in Enid, based on the 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 up $3,654,400 compared to the same period in 2012.
According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were 5 percent above sales during the same period in 2012, continuing strong results for the past couple of years.
Enid received $2,690,526 from OTC, an increase of $127,904 from last year’s receipts.
City Manager Eric Benson called it a “symbiotic nature” of the way things work together. The community generally seems busier, and Benson said the goal of making Enid a destination location is working.
“That’s what we wanted to do and we think it’s working. The Event Center programs draw the majority of the out-of-town traffic, for a majority of sales items, in addition to the usual restaurants and gasoline,” Benson said.
The oil field activity continues strong in the area, construction is increasing and a new canola plant is gearing up for construction. Benson discussed a story in the Sunday Enid News & Eagle about the Enid Regional Development Alliance that states they are taking an aggressive stance, which has not been done before.
“(City retail consultant) Rickey Hayes said it would be five years before we saw any benefit, and I think we’re seeing it,” Benson said. There is great interest in retail and other issues in Enid now being seen, he said. He said it all coordinates together.
“It knits very well and one reflects and benefits the other. That was exactly what we wanted to get. We’ve always been after the symbiotic nature of those issues. We want them to coordinate, parallel in the activity, and they do,” Benson said.
Most county seats in northwest Oklahoma saw declines in sales tax receipts this month, with only Enid, Medford and Cherokee recording increases.
Cherokee recorded the largest percentage increase in the area. The Alfalfa County seat recorded an increase of 55.2 percent — $2,036,123 — in net taxable sales for the July-August period compared to a year ago. Medford, the Grant County seat, saw an increase of 26 percent — $543,550 — in net taxable sales.
Alva recorded a decline of 23 percent — $3,104,917 — in net taxable sales compared to last year. Other declines were: Woodward, 2.7 percent, or $872,228 less in net taxable sales; Watonga, 6.2 percent, or $171,380 less; and Kingfisher, 2 percent, or $166,233 less.
Fairview also saw a decline of $56,991 in what was returned to the city from OTC. Dave Altman, who publishes Fairview E-News, reported Fairview City Clerk Sally Jantz called the tax commission for an explanation and was told an oil company had overpaid its tax over a period of time and the refund was taken out in one lump sum.
Statewide, OTC returned $133,783,653 in sales tax collections to 511 cities and towns, reflecting an increase of $1,337,379 from what was distributed in August last year.