By John Filonow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The process to implement an additional 1⁄16 cent sales tax in Payne County to help fire departments is under way.
Payne County voters approved the sales tax increase in November. Collections will start April 1. It expires in five years. County officials could ask residents to renew the tax.
Oklahoma Tax Commission Communications Director Paula Ross said the county’s new tax will be .813 percent and will be posted on the Tax Commission’s website as soon as all the information needed from the county is received.
Ross said the tax commission will mail a postcard in February to every sales tax or use tax account holder who has paid taxes to Payne County at least once in the past six months.
Ross said the new sales tax for each city after April 1 will be:
• Yale, 8.313 percent
• Cushing, 9.313 percent
• Ripley, 8.313 percent
• Glencoe, 9.313 percent
• Stillwater, 8.813 percent
• Perkins, 8.313 percent
• Part of Drumright in Payne County, 9.813 percent
Ross said the tax for rural Payne County businesses will be 5.313 percent.
The state tax commission collects the sales tax monthly and sends it to the treasurer’s office, County Treasurer Bonita Stadler said.
From there it is forwarded to the county clerk’s office where the fire department tax will be kept in a separate fund.
County Clerk Linda Hatfield said the money would be given to county fire departments monthly through cash appropriations.
The county has a 3⁄4 cent sales tax. The bond to pay off the construction of the county jail is 1⁄4 cent. The fund for jail operations is 1⁄8 cent and a 3⁄8 cent is divided between fire departments, fair board, the extension office, general government and the two road districts, Hatfield said.
Hatfield said fire departments receive 5 percent of the 3⁄8 cent sales tax.
Based on past revenues, expenditures and carry-over from previous years, the projected 2012-2013 sales tax collections for fire departments in Cushing, Glencoe, Ingalls, Perkins, Ripley, Stillwater and Yale are $21,942.83, said Hatfield.
Because a small portion of Drumright is in Payne County, the projected sales tax collection for its fire department is $6,000.
Hatfield said these projections don’t include the new tax, because it hasn’t gone into effect yet.
Assistant District Attorney Lowell Barto said in August the new tax would provide approximately $610,000 more for county fire departments.
Each city in the county would receive approximately $84,000, with Drumright receiving approximately $22,000, according to a detailed estimate provided by County Commissioner Gloria Hesser.
Payne County Emergency Management Director Jeff Kuhn, who is also the battalion chief of the Glencoe Fire Department, said the tax will allow Glencoe to replace a brush truck, buy needed equipment, fuel and provide additional training.
“It’s going to make all the difference in the world,” Kuhn said.