The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 5, 2013

Sales tax receipts again up in Enid

Staff reports
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid continued to enjoy robust retail sales early this year, based on April sales tax distributions to cities and towns from Oklahoma Tax Commission.

The current figures represent local tax receipts from spending in late February and early March. Net taxable sales in Enid during that period were more than $6 million higher compared to the same period in 2012.

According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were up 9.5 percent over sales during the same period in 2012, continuing a strong series of reports for the past two years.

Enid received $2,474,053 from OTC, an increase of $251,176 from last year’s receipts.

City Manager Eric Benson said the energy boom and Renaissance construction has led the way during the last two years; the project is starting to gear down and come to an end. The forces driving the economy now are ones created from the infrastructure building the city has done. Benson said data show an increase in sales of durable goods, soft goods and other areas.

“The car dealers are telling me they are having a tremendous year, and that on top of a great year last year,” Benson said. There is an overall increase in commerce, he said.

“We can now look at our strategy and say it’s grounded in a proven performance that reflects proper investment in areas that needed growth — areas that needed economic and retail development,” Benson said.

Restaurants are reporting more business, and Benson expects the economy to continue to grow.

Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director, said Enid historically has allowed things to happen, and in recent years, has done a better job of making things happen.

“We can certainly attribute much of our growth to a much more aggressive approach in making things happen,” he said.

While the energy sector continues to be a major player, Kisling said there are businesses in the area that are independent of the energy industry that are doing very well.

Most county seats across northwest Oklahoma also saw increases in taxable sales and sales tax receipts.

Kingfisher recorded the largest percentage increase in the area. The Kingfisher County seat recorded an increase of 15.5 percent — $1,040,433 — in net taxable sales for the February-March period compared to a year ago. Medford saw an increase of 11 percent — $152,225 — in net taxable sales.

Other net taxable sales increases by percentage and dollar amounts for county seats in northwest Oklahoma were: Alva, 2.8 percent, $239,929; Cherokee, 0.04 percent, $1,723; and Fairview, 2.6 percent, $83,225.

Watonga, the Blaine County seat, and Woodward were the only county seats to record declines. Net taxable sales were down 39.7 percent in Watonga, or $1,594,360 less in sales. In Woodward, the decline was less severe, 5.8 percent, or $1,653,742 less in sales.

Statewide, OTC returned $121,520,385 in sales tax collections to 509 cities and towns, reflecting a decrease of $851,218 from what was distributed in April last year.