The City Council has voted to ask the citizens of Midwest City to consider a measure that will increase the current sales tax rate by seventy-five hundredths (0.75) of one percent. The current sales tax rate is 8.35%. If passed, the new sales tax rate would be 9.10%.
The increased sales tax would be divided in the following manner:
City officials cite one of the primary reasons for needing a sales tax increase is because of flat sales tax revenue over the past several years. Records indicate that from fiscal years 2013-2014 through 2016-2017, sales and use taxes have shown little to no growth, with expenditures continuing to rise.
The city reports that to meet budget demands for this fiscal year, 2017-2018, $925,000 had to be transferred from the Municipal Authority (water, sewer, sanitation and storm water), Downtown Fund and Hospital Authority.
Another reason cited for the increase are results from both the Police and Fire Departments independent studies that were conducted in 2016. The results, which were released in early 2017, indicated a need for additional man-power in both departments. City officials say that without the sales tax increase, the hiring of additional officers and fire fighters would not be possible.
If approved, the additional sales tax revenue will help to increase staffing by six (6) patrol officers over the next three years, beginning in fiscal year 2018-19. The proposed increase will enable the Fire Department to increase staffing by three (3) firefighters in fiscal year 2019-20.
Mayor Matt Dukes stated that the estimated $6.4 million generated through the proposed sales tax will help the City address its operational budget and maintain the level of services that citizens have grown to expect. “Midwest City has the best water, streets, parks, and public safety departments in the state. We want to be able to continue this level of services that our citizens have enjoyed over the years. We can only provide this level of service if we have additional funds,” Dukes said.
Ward 2 Council member Pat Byrne said that as a group, the Mayor, Council and City staff studied and considered several ways to generate revenue that would allow the City to not only stay at the current level of services, but also improve upon them and the quality of life. “When people are considering a move, or starting a business in our area, we want them to see the type of quality community we are. We want them to know that when making decisions, we are striving to make the ones that will ultimately improve every aspect of the community. I believe the additional sales tax is a necessary step in that direction,” Byrne said.
The date for the upcoming election has been set for October 10, 2017.