Sales tax collections improved again in the Sooner State’s capital city, and the Council has voted in favor of a kind of amnesty for tickets and other citations.
The June sales tax report shows General Fund collections in Oklahoma City were up 3.1 percent compared to the same month last year, above the monthly projection by 2.2 percent. The June report includes collections for the last half of April and estimated collections in the first half of May, which total about $21.6 million for the General Fund. That’s around $460,000 above the projection.
June is the last month of fiscal year 2019. General Fund sales tax revenue finished the year 0.3 percent (about $880,000) above the projection. The June report is the 25th time in the last 26 months that Oklahoma City recorded year-over-year sales tax revenue growth.
The General Fund pays for the City’s day-to-day operations. Sales tax is the City’s largest single source of revenue. The City collected around $39.5 million in total sales tax revenue during the June reporting period, including collections for the General Fund, Police, Fire, the Zoo and the Better Streets, Safer City projects.
The full June sales tax report, submitted on June 18, is available here.
About the Oklahoma City sales tax: The overall sales tax rate for most of Oklahoma City is 8.625 percent, and 4.125 cents of each dollar in taxable sales goes to the City. Of that, 2 ¼ cents is allocated to the General Fund, one cent goes to “Better Streets, Safer City” projects, three-fourths of a cent is dedicated to police and fire, and
one-eighth of a cent goes to the Zoo. The rest of the sales tax belongs to the state. Oklahoma City businesses located in Cleveland and Canadian Counties collect a slightly higher sales tax rate due to county sales tax.
In other city news, people with warrants for years-old City citations can close the case at a lower cost during a penalty reduction program from July 1 through March 31, 2020. Anyone with a warrant for an unpaid ticket for a class “a” offense dated before July 1, 2017, can participate in the program (approved by the Council on June 18) which reduces the penalty to a cost similar to a ticket paid on time.
For example, an overdue speeding ticket in warrant status could cost up to $613 to resolve — $420 for fines, costs and fees, plus a $193 for a failure to appear charge. But it can be resolved for $155 during the penalty reduction program.
“Overdue tickets this old prevent people from reinstating their driving privileges with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and there’s also an active warrant,” said Municipal Court Administrator LaShawn Thompson. “So beyond encouraging compliance with enforcement of our ordinances, this makes sure an old speeding ticket isn’t the reason someone has trouble getting to work or to school. People can close the case and it won’t be hanging over their head anymore.”
People with financial difficulties can request a judicial hearing for to determine their ability to pay. Judges have discretion to waive or reduce fines, costs and fees for people who can’t afford them.
Call (405) 297-3898 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays) or visit the Municipal Court Customer Service Window, 701 Couch Drive, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day but holidays to pay the ticket or request a hearing about financial difficulties. You can also visit okc.gov/court for information to pay online.