Wagoner County American-Tribune (copy)

Even before the final round of the City of Wagoner proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21 could be discussed and approved, officials got some great news a few days earlier than the June 15 meeting.

City Clerk Rhonda Hash received the first round of sales tax figures for earlier this spring. All city governments knew there might be low collections due to the COVID-19 virus.

However, Hash saw that the numbers were not as bad as expected and immediately sent word to Mayor Albert Jones and City Superintendent Dwayne Elam.

Elam shared the good news before the final budget push started in the meeting at the Civic Center. Mayor Jones was also pleased with the results, but wanted to wait for the April and May numbers before celebrating.

There could be many reasons why the expected Sales Tax drop of 13.1 percent did not occur. The main reason was online sales and the fact sales tax is collected even on those items.

“I’m still staying at 13 percent,” Elam said of leaving the expected budget shortfall in sales tax revenue alone. “(But), we should be doing better than expected.”

Mayor Jones added, “I don’t know if it was impulse buying, but I want three months (of reports) behind me (before celebrating).”

The budget items highlighted for discussion were hashed out and were covered in the 70-minute meeting.

“This was the smoothest budget meeting we’ve had in years,” said Councilman Larry Abernathy.

The budgets of both the City and Public Works Authority were then approved.

In other action:

• The location of all remaining City of Wagoner Council and Public Works Authority meetings for 2020 will be held in the Civic Center.

• Approved to employ Robert Clothier, CPA as auditor of the city records and Public Works Authority.