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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Fiscal health of the city at the halfway point

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  • The end of the calendar year marks the halfway point of the fiscal year for the City of Ardmore. And initial figures show an up and down performance in terms of revenue and growth.
    Copying a state trend, expected sales tax is down for the city although the drop is slight. City collections are only matched or exceeded expectations in two of the six months to date. In fact, only one of the six months exceeded collections in the corresponding months of 2012.
    "Our projection is at 1 percent off which is not something to be concerned with at this time," Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn said. "Other communities sales tax has fluctuated and the state is also down."
    Use tax, is similarly down for the year, significantly from 2012 which city officials said was a phenomenal year. Use tax, which consists of funds gained from purchases made in city but shipped elsewhere, is expected to increase on the second half of the fiscal year.
    "Typically we do see an increase in the warmer months," Spohn said.
    Revenue from water is also down from 2012. Solid waste revenue is off by a minimal amount. Expectations call for revenue in the amount of $412,550 monthly, a mark that has been exceeded once. Water sales are also off with revenue exceeding $644,933.33 twice.
    City officials attributed water conservation efforts in drought conditions as the reason for the lower water usage.
    One area in which the city has exceeded expectations is in building permits. Ardmore has reached 95 percent of its budget for permits with six months remaining. Each month, the city has reached over $6,250 in expected revenue with figures as high as 371 percent of expectations.
    The TIF #2 tax revenue is lower than expected but the city does expect an increase in the final six months of the fiscal year. Another area revenue is down is in municipal court fines. Total fines collected are at their lowest mark in four years. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the hotel/motel tax collections are up for the year, exceeding expectations in every month but December.
    The new year will bring the addition of two key additions to the city. Ken Grace will take over as police chief, having resigned as Carter County Sheriff. Jennifer O'Steen will also join the city as its first full-time city attorney.
    "We feel very good about both positions," Spohn said. "They will bring a new level of experience and expertise."
    The city will have to fill the position of city engineer following the retirement of Wayne Busma. Tom Mansur is serving as the interim city engineer.
    "We are working on a plan to evaluate the department and see what direction we need to take," Spohn said.
    While the city would like to see sales tax and revenue increase in 2014, it would also like to seen some lingering issues put to rest. Most significantly the ongoing litigation over the right of way at the Ardmore Airpark as well as the ownership questions on the Ardmore Water Tower continue to demand time and resources.
    Page 2 of 2 - "In our line of work, we always have some issues," Spohn said. "Unfortunately, it has taken a lot of energy and effort as the city works with attorneys to find a solution.
    "Overall, the city is doing very well. We are working hard and developing retail and we have some exciting new things that will be happening."
    @mpinedaARD

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