By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Retail sales increased again in Enid in June and July, based on August sales tax distributions to cities and towns from Oklahoma Tax Commission.
The current figures represent local tax receipts from spending in late-June and early-July. Net taxable sales in Enid during that period were up $2,328,228 compared to the same period in 2012.
According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were 3.2 percent above sales during the same period in 2012, continuing strong results for the past couple of years.
Enid received $2,619,938 from OTC, an increase of $81,488 from last year’s receipts.
Taxable sales were mixed for county seats across northwest Oklahoma, with Medford, Cherokee, Kingfisher and Woodward joining Enid as county seats recording increases in August over last year.
Medford recorded the largest percentage increase in the area. The Grant County seat recorded an increase of 46.9 percent — $1,285,700 — in net taxable sales for the June-July period compared to a year ago. Cherokee, the Alfalfa County seat, saw an increase of 28.6 percent — $1,221,969 — in net taxable sales.
Enid City Manager Eric Benson was elated about the amount of the increase.
“That’s great news. It doesn’t surprise me given the traffic and the sales tax reports. We continue to have a very strong streak that reflects our opportunities and efforts to take advantage of the opportunities,” Benson said.
Unlike others, Benson does not see any decrease in the current oil field business. He believes it will last a minimum of five to 10 years.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if it continues. We have knowledge in place now that was not in place five years ago,” he said.
The city is seeing additional utility accounts and other indications there are more people in town.
“We’re now back in double digits. This is not a fluke, it’s not some spike in sales,” he said. Four years ago, Enid was beginning a steady increase in sales tax, and it has continued to steadily increase every year.
“Two years ago, we started our retail development projects and every single one has shown a profit. Every one of them,” he said.
Benson said he estimates there are 55,000 people in Enid now and three of the major retail flagships that will occupy the old Homeland building have not opened yet.
Kingfisher saw a 13.6 percent increase — $975,633 — in net taxable sales, while Woodward was up 2.2 percent, or $676,400.
Watonga recorded the steepest decline, 18.6 percent — or $630,800 less — in net taxable sales compared to last year. Alva saw a loss of 8.5 percent, or $896,776 less, in sales, while Fairview recorded a loss of 1.3 percent, or $48,600.
Statewide, OTC returned $134,709,034 in sales tax collections to 510 cities and towns, reflecting an increase of $6,102,803 from what was distributed in August last year.