Home > City Council, Community, Guthrie Fire Department, Guthrie Police, Local Government, Money, Traffic > Poll: Breaking down the proposed one percent sales tax increase proposal

Poll: Breaking down the proposed one percent sales tax increase proposal

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Several questions have risen since the City of Guthrie announced they will be seeking a one percent sales tax increase to the citizens with a vote on Aug. 26.

Guthrie City HallThe proposed one penny increase would take the current three percent city sales tax to four percent beginning on Jan. 1, 2015. Related story: Citizens to vote on one percent sales tax increase

At the bottom of this article you will find a poll on where you stand on the proposal.

City officials say 50 percent of the penny would be used for capital items such as roads, traffic signals, water and sewer upgrades, sidewalks, beautification, library enhancements, tornado sirens, ATV trails, equine trails, facilities and other items that allow the City to carry out services in the community.

The other 50 percent would be dedicated towards employee compensation and equipment. It would support the increase cost to provide compensation for all employees, including, but not limited to dispatchers, firefighters, mechanics, maintenance, airport, animal control, economic development, finance, water, purchasing, court clerk, police officers, human resources, payroll, facilities, library, municipal services, cemetery and parks, convenience center, mechanics, sewer, planning, inspections, code enforcement and streets

Trailer Fire 01162013If passed, it would be the first increase since 1979 and is projected to raise $1.4 million for the City to dedicate annually. The proceeds would be used to catch up to the 2014 inflation and expectations rather than to fund specific new projects. Projects such as – repaint water towers, fix tornado sirens, purchase a fire engine and traffic signals.

The I-35 and Highway 33 corridor remains a busy area for sales tax revenues with nearly 20,000 vehicles passing through daily.

“This tax is not a tax that only our citizens may pay for; it is spread out from people all over and is used to benefit our community specifically,” a city spokesperson said.

Along with updating projects, city officials say the increase could also provide opportunity to explore new projects and enhancements in the future, once the current needs had been met.

Gas Line Break186 cities in Oklahoma currently have a sales tax at or above 4 percent, including Yukon, Piedmont and Choctaw.

While city officials are upbeat and positive about the proposed changes, they do fear what a failed proposition could mean for the city.

“In order to maintain services, the council could recommend a fee increase that would affect only those customers with a water bill. This would result in more of a burden to our own citizens rather than sharing costs with tourists who shop in Guthrie and enjoy local amenities. Alternatively, some services provided through the City may simply be reduced or disappear,”  a city spokesperson concluded with.

Sales tax dollars at all-time best

City sales tax revenues are at an all-time best and are expected to go over $4.5 million dollars in the current fiscal year. In the 2013 fiscal year (Oct. 2012 to Sept. 2013), the city collected $4,378,443.40 compared to the year before with $4,096,089.03.

The following chart is the sales tax generated so far in the 2014 fiscal year:

October 2013 $392,062
November 2014 $499,587
December 2014 $397,062
January 2014 $403,794
February 2014 $379,647
March 2014 $371,494
April 2014 $373,833
May 2014 $382,019
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  1. June 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    “In order to maintain services, the council could recommend a fee increase that would affect only those customers with a water bill. This would result in more of a burden to our own citizens rather than sharing costs with tourists who shop in Guthrie and enjoy local amenities.”

    Water system improvements should ONLY be financed through user fees. This is just another attempt to get the larger tax base to finance benefits for a subset of the population. Those of us on rural water or private wells should not be financing Guthrie’s water system expansion.

    • July 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      I am on city water and I absolutely agree with you Jay. It seems that govt just want to tax and not get spending under control.

  1. July 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

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