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Strong month caps strong year for Oklahoma City sales tax revenue

Sales tax results for June capped a strong year for Oklahoma City's finances and the metro economy.

The city's sales tax revenue was up 16.6 percent over June 2017.

Based on economic activity the last two weeks of April and first two weeks of May, Friday's figures wrap up the fiscal year and set the table for a strong start to 2018-19.

Sales tax is Oklahoma City's single-largest revenue source.

Besides day-to-day expenses, sales tax finances MAPS 3 projects and the new, 27-month MAPS for streets rehab and resurfacing program.

Budget Director Doug Dowler said the city received $38.3 million in sales tax proceeds for June.

Adjusting for the quarter-cent public safety sales tax increase that took effect Jan. 1, results indicated underlying growth in economic activity of 9.5 percent.

Dowler said the showing was a reflection of the strength within the Oklahoma City economy.

"There is a lot of positive momentum in Oklahoma City right now," he said. "This was a great finish to fiscal year 2018 and we are hoping this leads into a strong start in fiscal year 2019."

The new budget year begins July 1 with a forecast for 2.76 percent growth in sales tax.

Leaving out growth attributable to the midyear sales tax increase, sales tax was up 5.85 percent from fiscal 2017, well above the 2 percent target for 2018.

Dowler said Oklahoma City took in almost $8 million more than projected for the general fund, the primary account for day-to-day expenses.

After two austere years, the city has seen a rebound in sales tax over the past 14 months.

It has been timely, enabling City Manager Jim Couch to build into the 2018-19 budget operating expenses for the MAPS 3 streetcar and downtown park.

Couch added Sunday bus service and additional evening buses, and provided for a net increase of 162 authorized positions in the city's workforce, surpassing 4,800.

The general fund for the budget year starting July 1 increases to $460 million, a 13.9 percent increase over the starting point a year ago.

The overall 2018-19 budget adopted by the city council last week is a record $1.57 billion. Trusts and authorities including the Water Utilities Trust and Airport Trust add to the total.


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William Crum

OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman. Read more ›