Sales tax proves fickle

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By Alyssa Sperrazza
Staff Writer

2019 is well underway and cities across Canadian County are working to increase sales tax revenue for this new year.

One of the main focuses of cities has been to attract more businesses and retail, hoping to encourage more residents to shop locally. The biggest challenge mentioned has been the steep competition with Oklahoma City.

“That’s actually our biggest challenge, to bring business into the community because Oklahoma City is just a couple minutes away,” Piedmont City Manager Jason Orr explained.

“They have more resources to provide adequate infrastructure and other needs businesses desire. [Piedmont does] have a heavy focus though on attracting retail to the community.  We have our challenges with that but I continue to chase after those sales tax dollars.”

Piedmont did see an increase over the last year in their sales tax reports though, much of that increase due to oil and gas.

“We’re up 30 percent to the same time last year so that’s a big improvement,” Orr said.

“According to the tax commission, our biggest contributor was oil and gas activity. We have seen quite a significant increase in sales tax this past year.”

Piedmont did see, like many cities in the area, a slight dip in their sales tax at the start of the year. Some of the decrease was attributed to the federal government shutdown that was putting a strain on federal workers nationwide.

Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby the city has had a continual dip over the last four or five months though, something Crosby said he is continuing to work on.

“Something that we’re working on continually is trying to reach out to people, advertise, let them know what goes on in their city,” Crosby said. “We want to encourage people to shop locally, bring people into town for events.”

Crosby did admit he believes the city’s sales tax numbers will stay static for some time though as city officials continue the process of building and growing revenue as a long-term project. The challenge of competing with retail in Oklahoma City is an issue Yukon, Piedmont and several other cities face. Oklahoma City brings in monthly sales tax revenue of more than $1 million consistently, Edmond being the only neighboring city to do the same.

This has caused a strain on smaller neighboring cities as they try to attract more retail and local businesses, a feat Crosby said the city is working to do.

“One of the things other cities do is build around you,” Crosby said. “If you look at the tremendous amount of retail located across 10th street and all the things that have built there, people will shop there instead of shopping in our community. We’re gonna get an influx of retail once we start the I-40 interchange on Frisco Road. We’re looking at investing in several other items over the next few years but all this takes time.”

Yukon did see a $20,000 drop from this time last year, but Crosby said he’s confident that the sales tax will gradually rise over the next few years once retail and more local businesses are brought into the area.