The Duncan Banner

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August 13, 2009

Hotel taxes down

Retail sales tax shows increase

DUNCAN — Duncan city council members heard Tuesday that the hotel/motel tax has decreased “considerably” in the last three months, during the report provided by the city’s financial director Gerald Morris.

Morris noted that the tax has dropped from $25,000 to an average of $17,000 per month.

Council member Michael Hale asked Morris if the decrease could be attributed to Halliburton not having schools or if it was something else. Morris said he didn’t know.

He said that the revenue from the tax has been going directly to the Simmons Center, but as of Sept. 1, that will change.

“Come Sept. 1, we will retain five percent of it,” he said.

The figures are considered public record, but what each hotel or motel pays is confidential material, Morris said Thursday in a phone interview with The Banner.

While the hotel/motel tax reflected a decrease, the city’s portion of sales tax collections was up, Morris said, by a 5.2 percent increase over what was budgeted. The city budget for July was $480,000, but the actual collection was $507,400. During the 2007-08 fiscal year for the same period, collections were only $277,300. Morris said Thursday that the 2007-08 figures are not a whole accurate reflection to compare against.

“In January 2008, we changed our accounting procedures to increase the general fund by, 60 percent of a one cent sales tax,” he said.

The increase is nearly 83 percent from the 2007-08 fiscal year, according to the City of Duncan’s unaudited financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. The statements were included in the packets provided to council members for the regular meeting.

Morris said that six months of that is comparable but six months is not. Some figures were changed midway through the fiscal year.

“The 5.3 percent is an accurate reflection,” he said. “Our sales tax has stayed ahead of the budget, considering the state is staying behind.”

He believes that could be attributed to the retail facilities Duncan offers.

“I think I know the reason is the majority of shopping is for necessities. People have to have those,” he said.

Since the fiscal year 2009-10 just began July 1, it is too soon to tell if Duncan’s retail sales are continuing at the increased pace. Morris said they could go down, but is hopeful the revenue continues to be generated.

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