EDMOND — Edmond's sales tax collection check for July topped $5 million, the largest reimbursement ever received by the city in one month.
City Finance Director Ross VanderHamm said the check for the last two weeks of May and the first half of June was 17.94 percent more than the city received for the same month a year ago.
The July check would still be the highest even if the $669,812 collected from the half-cent sales tax designated for the new public safety center were subtracted from the total, VanderHamm said. City leaders had budgeted to receive $600,063 for July for the public safety center.
The 17.94 percent increase took leaders by surprise.
“That is a lot,” VanderHamm said. “I was concerned and called the tax commission. They didn't see anything.”
City leaders will receive additional information next week that may help explain the reasons behind the large check.
If one considers only the 2 percent sales tax that goes into the general fund for daily operations of the city, VanderHamm said, the additional $407,592 would equate to a $20 million increase in sales for the month.
City leaders included a 3 percent growth in this year's budget that started July 1.
“That is extremely impressive,” City Manager Larry Stevens said. “The state and most municipalities are up. We are off to a good start.”
Shoppers in Edmond pay an 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 a half percent goes to construct 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, parks and capital improvements as designated by voters.
Historically, VanderHamm said, July is an average month.
“July is never bad,” he said. “July is never great, just average. This blew me out of the water.”