EDMOND — Edmond was shorted $500,000 on its January sales tax collection check, said Ross VanderHamm, finance director and city clerk.
City officials were alerted to a possible problem when January's check was up only 4.4 percent over the previous year, compared with 31 percent growth in December.
“I was shocked,” VanderHamm said. “We found out that several cities' (reimbursement) had decreased and the state's had increased.”
Turns out it was a glitch with the Oklahoma Tax Commission's new computer system that was installed in mid-November, VanderHamm said. Apparently there was a problem with several of the large vendors who report electronically, he said.
The extra money increases the city's growth to 15.49 percent for January's reimbursement, which was from sales tax collections during the last half of the month of November and the first half of December.
For the first seven months of the fiscal year, Edmond has had a 19.31 percent growth when comparing this year to the previous one. Edmond has received $35,921,986 in sales tax revenue, which is $9,827,722 more than was collected a year ago.
Edmond officials had calculated a 3 percent growth in this year's budget.
Part of the increase in the sales tax money is because of the half-cent sales tax that was approved by voters to build a new public safety center.
For December, the new calculation after the mistake was caught increased the revenue for the public safety center from $621,213 to $687,176.
Edmond voters approved the half-cent sales tax to pay for a home for police headquarters, the 911 communication center and emergency management operations. So far, the city has collected $5,618,087.
VanderHamm announced the correction on the sales tax collection check this week during the Capital Projects and Financing Task Force meeting.
Edmond voters in 2000 voted 3/4 of a cent sales tax increase to be designated for capital projects. The task force oversees the money and projects voters said they wanted accomplished when the tax was approved.
Over the last six months, VanderHamm said, spending on building materials has been huge, partly for roof repairs from the summer hailstorm.
City Manager Larry Stevens said Edmond had a 55 percent increase in construction permits for single-family homes compared to the previous year. For 2012, there were 603 permits, up from 387 in 2011.
“For the past two and a half years this number has continued to go up, following a four-and-a-half-year period of decline,” Stevens said. “This is encouraging.”
Commercial permits increased from 14 to 23 when comparing the two years. The city manager called it a “healthy increase.”
“The numbers are pointing in a positive direction,” Stevens said.
Ken Rees, task force chairman, said, “This is awful good news.”
Shoppers in Edmond pay 8.25 percent sales tax on purchases; 4.5 percent goes to the state and 3.75 percent is returned to the city. Of the city's portion, 2 percent goes to the general fund and remaining half cent to the public safety center. The remaining city sales tax money that does not go into the general fund is divided among firefighters, the police department and capital improvements as designated by voters.