The numbers are deceiving: Muskogee County sales tax collections for January 2008 were four times more than a year ago.

The huge jump is because the collections included the one-half cent increase approved by voters last July.

Oklahoma Tax Commission reports show county sales tax collections for January 2008 were $464,854, compared to $80,643 for January 2007. Last year’s figure was based on the .15 cent sales tax to support county fire departments.

The one-half cent added Jan. 1 generated $395,125 in January. Half of that money will be split between the three county commissioner districts for road and bridge improvements, and the other half will go to the county sheriff’s office.

While county sales tax receipts were up, city sales tax collections showed a 21 percent drop, according tax commission reports.

County officials said the increased revenue will make a big difference in funding road work and law enforcement, while a city official said the city’s drop would not affect general city operations.

“As we accrue the money, we can do projects we couldn’t do before,” said District 1 County Commissioner Gene Wallace.

However, much of the added revenue will be eaten up by rising fuel and material costs, he said. “Fuel costs have gone up 70 percent, and material costs went up 45 percent. But with us being strapped for cash, the tax collection was a godsend to us.”

January brought a drop in city sales tax collections because a three-quarter cent capital improvements sales tax was discontinued, City Treasurer Jean Kingston said. In January, the city sales tax rate dropped from 4.25 percent to 3.5 percent.

January sales tax collections for the city dropped from $1,934,552 for 2007 to $1,530,953 for 2008, a 20.9 percent decrease.

“The sales tax (that was discontinued) was earmarked for water service and will not affect our general fund,” she said, adding that the city is finishing the last of the projects funded by that tax.

She said the city still has a quarter-cent sales tax to fund renovations to the Muskogee Civic Center.

Wagoner, which did change its sales tax rate, experienced a 25.9 percent drop in sales tax collections from January 2007 to January 2008. Collections were $284,896 for January 2007 and $211,213 for January 2008.

Wagoner City Manager Larry Morgan said he hopes the decrease is a one-time case.

“I can’t explain it,” he said. “We had a pretty good year in revenue.”

The city had a 5 percent increase in sales tax revenue for December and a 6 percent increase for November, he said.

Morgan said sales tax revenue supports about 30 percent of the city’s general fund.

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