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February 12, 2014

Norman revenue tracking close to budget

NORMAN — Overall revenue for the city of Norman is tracking on budget so far this fiscal year, Norman Finance Director Anthony Francisco said.

Sales tax receipts year-to-date are running above budget predictions, while other revenue is tracking slightly below budget, balancing each other out.

Norman city sales tax for January and February last year was a roller coaster because of a reporting anomaly in January 2013. Some big-box stores reported later than normal, affecting Norman’s sales tax deposit for the month and making the January 2013 deposit low.

That abnormality last year meant the January 2014 deposit showed an unusually high percentage of growth compared to last year.

Low numbers for January 2013 then resulted in an abnormally large February last year, which makes this month’s deposit appear to be a decline in sales tax revenue. However, year-to-date, sales tax growth is running above predictions.

“Because of the anomaly last February, we expected the monthly receipts to be down from last year, and it was down 3.8 percent,” Francisco said. “Now we’re back on the fiscal year trend. The anomaly has worked itself out. The year-to-date collections are up about 5.6 percent from last year.”

Norman budgeted for a 4.2 percent sales tax increase, so sales tax receipts for this fiscal year are running above budget. Other revenue sources — primarily the franchise fee revenue — is down slightly because of a mild summer. Franchise fees are paid by electric, gas, phone and cable utilities for the public rights of way.

“The amount that they pay is tied to their revenue,” Francisco said.

The upswing in sales tax collections is keeping the city in line with overall revenue budget projections. Last fiscal year, the reverse was true.

“Last year was a relatively low sales tax year,” Francisco said. “Coincidentally, the franchise fees were up.”

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