The latest sales tax report shows September revenues up a solid 3 percent compared to the same period last year, which itself was 14.7 percent over the same period the year before. With increases steadily climbing year over year, City sales tax revenue is up about 18 percent when compared back to the two-year period 2020-2022, Chief Financial Officer/City Clerk Jason Muninger said this week.
“We’re about $55,000 over last year’s collections at this time, or about 3 percent over for the month,” Muninger said. “We continue to experience increases in revenue even though we’re now comparing back to higher numbers that began with the pandemic in 2020. Where we used to consistently pull in an average of $1.6 million for September collections, we’re now at $1.9 million.”
Why? Muninger said several factors are likely in play.
“While inflation certainly has something to do with that, other factors are likely at play as well, including modifications to shopping habits that have resulted in more people shopping locally,” he said. “While that most likely began as a result of the pandemic, it is clear that more people have continued the trend and are shopping in Bartlesville more than in previous years.”
Muninger said the most recent collections are about 6.5 percent over the budgeted amount and put City coffers at $348,000 over the budgeted amount for the fiscal year, which began July 1.
“Last year at this time we had collected $5.62 million, compared to this year’s $5.73 million,” he said. “That’s an increase of 1.9 percent, year over year.”
City Manager Mike Bailey said efforts by the Bartlesville Development Authority to focus on bringing new retail to Bartlesville has no doubt contributed to the rising numbers. He said the effort began after a study showed Bartlesville was experiencing 10 percent job growth but only 3 percent population growth, causing the City Council at the time to task the BDA with bringing more dining and retail options to Bartlesville.
“The BDA, under the leadership of President David Wood, rose to the occasion and, among other things, was able to answer that call with the Silver Lake Village and Turkey Creek shopping centers as well as renovations at Eastland Shopping Center — and other projects still to come,” Bailey said. “These options no doubt have a direct correlation to the increases we’ve seen in local shopping and sales tax revenues over the past two years.”
The City of Bartlesville, like most Oklahoma municipalities, has seen gains in sales tax revenue for the past 16 months with just one exception, May 2022. Excess funds from the previous fiscal year were carried over into the 2022-23 Fiscal Year budget as a fund balance, which are then used as available funds to balance the 2022-23 operating budget.