Filling the coffers

Yukon tops $2 million in sales tax; use tax up more than $100K

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By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – Sales and use tax revenue showed a dramatic increase for most cities and towns in Canadian County during February, according to figures provided by the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

“Use tax is a very volatile tax,” Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby said. “We’re still down for the year, but we had a good month on use tax. We think we’re going to be up by the end of the year with all the construction of homes we have here. Sales tax is going good and we’re about 9.5 percent above where we were a year ago. We budgeted an increase for sales tax for our budget, but we’re about 2.2 percent above that. We put a seven percent increase in the budget for sales tax.”

The OTC report shows Yukon sales tax collections topped $2 million at $2,083,012, up from $1,725, 617 for the same period last year. Use tax for Feb. 2018 showed $179,086 which more than doubled from $70,794 in 2017.

Piedmont sales and use tax was up after a slight downturn the previous two months. Sales tax collections were $154,610, up modestly from $130,493. Use tax collections showed sharp improvement totaling $50,216 from only $16,440 the previous year.

Piedmont City Manager Jason Orr said city officials have been encouraging citizens to buy online if they can’t shop local.

“We think the large majority of that (use tax) is going to be from online purchases. We continue to encourage people to purchase online because some of that money comes back here,” he said.

Okarche’s sales tax collections were down from February 2017, falling slightly to $87,169 in 2018 from $112,870. Town Administrator Richard Raupe said February 2017 was a historic high.

“We’re still doing pretty good to take in $87,000,” he said. “People spent money on Christmas in December and maybe didn’t have much left in January. February is usually our slowest month and then it starts picking back up in March.”

The increase in use tax from $4,733 in February 2017 to $16,082 is credited to Amazon, which last year started remitting taxes back to Oklahoma.

“Until Amazon gets their distribution center, it comes through as use tax. At least they’re collecting that and getting it back to us,” Raupe said.

Mustang’s sales and use tax collections were up slightly. For February 2018, the report shows the city collected $938,007, up from $858,239 for the same period in 2017. Use tax collections rang up to $46,135 from $34,755 last year.

Sales and use tax for El Reno were up almost by the same amount. Sales tax collections ballooned to $1,180, 812 from $799,853 the year before and use tax collections totaled $446,528, up from $229,285.

Canadian County sales and use taxes were both up. The OTC report shows sales tax collections were $803,165 up from $584,933 the previous year. Use tax increased to $150,608 from $92,382.

Canadian County Commissioner Marc Hader said sales and use taxes are up for the right reasons.

“I think the presidential election has had an effect and a slow improvement in the economy,” he said. “The oil and gas in our area, which is feast-or-famine, when they’re rocking and rolling they spend the money and get the work done. I think that’s driving more sales in the area, and naturally we’re the fastest growing county. One day we will stop being the fastest growing county, but as far as I know construction hasn’t slowed down.”