Sales Tax Revenue Up, Use Tax Nets Less
Tulsa got more good news last week on the sales tax receipts front, announcing that its revenue check from the state Tax Commission was 3.4 percent more than the check it received for the same period a year ago.
The time period ranged from the middle of December to the middle of January. The city took in a little more than $18.3 million in that time, compared to approximately $17.7 million last year. City officials had projected receipts of $16.9 million.
"This is good news, in light of the record snowstorm last week and second round this week," Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. said in a statement issued last week. "Our current preliminary costs estimate for response to this storm is between $2 million and $3 million. The increase in revenue may allow us to cover these extra costs before using our emergency reserve, which now is $13.7 million."
The city has taken in more than $135 million in sales tax revenue for the fiscal year to date, compared to the nearly $132 million it received for the same period a year earlier -- a 2.7 percent increase.
The news wasn't as good in regard to use taxes, as the city received approximately $1.6 million in receipts, almost 0.2 percent less than it received for the same period last year. But use tax receipts are up for the fiscal year to date, with the city having received more than $11.7 million in revenue this fiscal year compared to the approximately $11.1 million it received last year at this time, a 5.6 percent increase. That figure is 3.8 percent more than the $11.3 million city officials projected.
Now Hiring Firefighters
A federal agency has awarded the city a grant of more than $4.2 million to hire 46 new firefighters to replace those lost through attrition over the past few years.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant is being administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It provides wages for the firefighters, while the city will provide training and equipment for them. The training will take place within 90 days. The city will not be required to retain the firefighters after two years is local economic conditions do not allow for it.
"The administration and the leadership of the Tulsa Fire Department applied for this grant in 2010 to help keep our fire protection public safety at its highest possible level," Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. said. "Given the effects of the recession on our ability to maintain the superior fire protection services offered by the Tulsa Fire Department, I believe applying for this grant was in Tulsa's best interest. Our request has been granted, thanks to help from Congressman John Sullivan and Sen. Jim Inhofe."
The mayor said the grant would have a number of positive effects.
"It allows us to send a greater number of firefighters to response to emergencies and keep the response time as short as possible," he said. "It also allows us to continue with public safety education and help keep homeowners' property insurance costs stable. Public safety continues to be a top priority of mine, and this is good news for Tulsa."
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