Mid-year budget cut proposed as Oklahoma City sales tax revenue declines

The Oklahoma City Council will consider a proposed $9.2 million mid-year budget reduction in a public hearing during its December 6 meeting at City Hall.
Budget Director Doug Dowler detailed the proposed reduction in a presentation during
the November 22 Council meeting. The total City budget is $1.26 billion for fiscal year 2017, which ends June 30.
The proposed cuts match an amended sales tax projection for this fiscal year. City sales tax revenue has declined every month this fiscal year compared to the same month last year. It’s now projected to fall 2.6 percent this year instead of grow by 1.6 percent.
The proposed budget reduction to General Fund departments is $4.4 million. The $404 million General Fund pays for day-to-day services like police, firefighting, street maintenance, code enforcement, animal welfare and more.

The number of authorized full-time City staff positions would be 4,660 after a net reduction of 39 included in the proposed cuts:
·        3 from Development Services
·        7 from Parks and Recreation
·        15 uniformed Police Department positions
·        3 civilian Police Department positions
·        5 from Public Works
·        6 from other departments
Of the uniformed Police Department positions proposed to be cut, 11 are vacant police officer positions and four are elementary school resource officers. The four school resource officers would be assigned to other duties.
No Fire Department positions are proposed to be cut. The proposed cuts to the department’s budget come from temporarily taking firefighting vehicles out of service in some situations to save on manpower costs.
Reductions to capital funding and the General Fund contingency bring the total proposed spending cuts to $9.2 million.

About the Oklahoma City sales tax: The sales tax rate in Oklahoma City is 8.375 percent, and 3.875 cents of each dollar in taxable sales goes to the City. Of that, two cents is allocated to the City’s General Fund, one cent goes to MAPS3, MAPS 3 , 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.
Note: Oklahoma City businesses located in Cleveland and Canadian Counties collect a slightly higher sales tax rate due to County sales tax.