By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Retail sales have surged in Enid, based on tax distributions to cities and towns from Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Net taxable sales in Enid during the period of late August and early September were up $14,670,571, compared with the same period in 2012.
According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were 20.6 percent above sales during the same period in 2012, continuing strong results for the past couple of years. Vehicle and fuel sales are not included in the net taxable sales figures.
Enid received $3,010,599 from OTC, an increase of $513,470 from last year’s receipts.
“I think the story is how many months in a row we’ve had over-year increases,” said Brent Kisling, executive director of Enid Regional Development Alliance. “It has to be 24 months. That’s very impressive to me.”
The increases point to the aggressive nature of the community, now trying to develop retail venues. The oil play north of Enid is ongoing, and there is a new play starting south of Enid, he said.
“That will continue to put disposable income in the pockets of the landowners that will make its way to Enid,” Kisling said.
Kisling credited ongoing construction in Enid this summer and the opening of the new Enid Event Center downtown, which plays a significant part in the sales tax increase. “We’re in the middle of a perfect storm for sales tax now, and we’re on an upward incline in retail sales that will continue,” he said.
“I will also say, because of these sustained increases, we’re getting more attention from nationwide retailers. We’re getting a lot more phone calls than we were even a year ago,” he said.
The city’s contract with retail consultant Rickey Hayes precipitated those calls, he said.
Kisling does not believe Enid is getting its story out. When retailers see a community of 50,000 people, they often look no further. Enid however, has the seventh-largest economy in the state, with 130,000 people who are in the primary trade area and shop in the city. The primary trade area, he said, is west to Woodward, north to the state line, east to I-35 and south halfway to Oklahoma City.
“Anything positive that happens in the economy of any of those communities is a positive influence on Enid, as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, most county seats in northwest Oklahoma saw declines in sales tax receipts this month, with only Enid, Medford and Watonga recording increases.
Medford recorded the largest percentage increase in the area. The Grant County seat recorded an increase of 119 percent — $2,432,250 — in net taxable sales for the August-September period compared with a year ago. Watonga, the Blaine County seat, saw an increase of 17 percent — $435,880 — in net taxable sales.
Alva recorded a decline of 9.8 percent — $934,894 — in net taxable sales compared with last year. Other declines were: Woodward, 2 percent, or $628,542 less in net taxable sales; Fairview, 6.2 percent, or $248,125 less; Cherokee, 49.6 percent, or $2,238,030 less; and Kingfisher, 17.2 percent, or $1,370,400 less.
Statewide, OTC returned $136,634,153 in sales tax collections to 511 cities and towns, reflecting an increase of $6,050,319 from what was distributed in October last year.