By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The pace may have slowed some, but business continues to be brisk in Enid, based on November sales tax distributions to cities and towns from Oklahoma Tax Commission.
The current figures represent local tax receipts from spending in late September and early October. Net taxable sales in Enid during that period were more than $3 million higher compared to the same period in 2011.
According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were up 4.9 percent over sales during the same period in 2011. That broke a string of double-digit increases.
The city of Enid received $2,247,309 from OTC, an increase of $105,638 from last year’s receipts, continuing the upward trend.
City Manager Eric Benson said sales tax receipts have steadily increased each month for more than a year. He recalled that last year at the same time, the increase was “huge.”
“It was not unexpected, but it was a huge increase,” Benson said. “The amount was very surprising. We’ve already set a benchmark, and now it’s being exceeded.”
He said the increased sales tax figures show people have found Enid and enjoy coming here and shopping.
“And, we’re glad to have them,” Benson said.
To get a hotel room in Enid, a person must start looking at least a month in advance, Benson said. The oil industry is contributing to that, which is a reason city officials are looking at an ordinance covering industrial work force housing locations.
“We need to provide a solution rather than react with an improper response,” Benson said. “We’re following the example of towns that did it well. It will eliminate the pressure on the hotels so people can come here and stay.”
At a recent city commission meeting, City Planner Chris Bauer talked about a housing ordinance. Several companies have expressed interest in building manufactured housing for temporary workers. Bauer suggested several items the ordinance would need to cover, costs the owners would pay to the city and the length of permits.
Most county seats across northwest Oklahoma also saw hefty increases in net taxable sales and sales tax receipts.
The towns of Cherokee and Medford again saw increases of more than 100 percent. Cherokee recorded an increase of 156.7 percent — $2,297,446 — in net taxable sales for the September-October period compared to a year ago. Medford saw an increase of 120 percent — $1,076,575 — for the period.
Other net taxable sales increases by percentage and dollar amounts for county seats in northwest Oklahoma were: Alva, 50.5 percent, $3,369,270; Woodward, 23.1 percent, $5,908,314; and Fairview, 26.4 percent, $906,150.
Watonga and Kingfisher recorded declines in net taxable sales for the period. Watonga, the Blaine County seat, saw a decline of 54.8 percent, or $2,914,780 less in sales. Kingfisher recorded a 9 percent decline, or $692,866 less in sales.