Council members attended their annual budget workshop Tuesday, where they heard from economists as well as city finance and budget officials on projections on the economy and the fiscal state of the city.
People paying for damage from last springs hailstorm has been one of the major driving forces that has kept sales tax revenue up, although it appears there has been some economic growth unrelated to the weather, said Russell Evans, director and research economist at the Center for Applied Economic Research at Oklahoma State University.
America is probably not facing a double-dip recession, and any economic growth for the country as a whole will help boost the states economy as well, Evans said.
Oklahoma needs a national recovery in order for us to recover, Evans said. We dont need much we just need the U.S. to grow 2 to 2.5 percent, and thats enough to spur activity in Oklahoma.
It will probably 2014 before the state returns to 2008 revenue levels, he said.
Were certainly not immune from the recession, were not immune from the downturn; we weathered it better than many of our peer states, and were poised to recover ahead of, more aggressively, than many of our peer states, Evans said.
Beginning in March 2009, city sales tax revenue began declining into negative territory, and it was not until last May that the city began seeing growth in sales tax collections again, said Assistant Budget Director Doug Dowler.
The citys sales tax revenue declined from $109. 6 million in fiscal year 2009 to $97.1 million in fiscal year 2010, Dowler said, and while the hailstorm likely fueled the increase in revenue seen in 2011 a projected $111.1 million growth will return to normal as it tapers off, giving Oklahoma City a projected $109.1 million in fiscal year 2012.
The city will likely see .5 percent growth in sales tax revenue next fiscal year and about 3.5 percent growth between 2011 and 2015, he said. Because the city cut the budget this fiscal year, the higher-than expected revenue collections will allow the city to bolster its reserves.
Currently, departments are preparing their budgets on the assumption of no spending cuts, he said. In addition, several police and fire positions currently being paid for by the MAPS 3 use-tax fund should be moved back into the general fund.
The city will have a proposed budget presented on May 3, and the goal is to have the budget adopted by June 14, said Jim Couch, city manager.