Claremore on ‘solid financial ground’ says city manager

City Manager Jim Thomas reported significant surpluses in sales and use tax income during FY 2017-2018 to the city council Monday.

The fiscal year ended June 30, but sales tax revenue typically takes two months from the month in which it is collected to be totaled and redistributed to the state and local governments where it originated. Information on the revenue for June, therefore, was only recently remitted to the city.

“We had budgeted $10.8 million for sales tax. We brought in $11.24 million,” Thomas said. “That’s more than $440,000 higher than we had budgeted.”

The city collects 3 cents of every dollar spent in Claremore, so an $11.24 million in collected revenue represents a $374.7 million retail economy within city limits.

“That tells us our economy and the growth that's going on in Claremore is going in the right direction,” Thomas said.

“Our use tax, we had budgeted $650,000 and it came in $796,000, so there again it is about a $146,000 increase,” Thomas said. Use tax is a sales tax on purchases made outside of Oklahoma for taxable items that will be used, stored or consumed within the state and on which no tax was collected during the purchase, like alcohol, tickets to places of amusement, some animal purchases, alarm systems and products used by accountants and advertising agencies for example.

“Some of this growth is coming from the decision with Amazon,” Thomas said, referencing the 2016 Oklahoma Retail Protection Act that required Amazon to collect sales tax on purchases made in Oklahoma. “Even though people are still buying on the web their sales tax is still being remitted to their respective communities.”

“I think from a fiscal standpoint the city is on solid financial grounds and we’re moving in the right direction,” Thomas said.

“Not only are our employees being recognized,” he said, referencing city employees recognized in Rogers County Reveal 40 under 40 and city police officers recently awarded honors for acts of bravery, “but from a financial standpoint we’re on solid ground.”