BY RACHEL SNYDER
Chickasha is following a trend of increased revenue across the state.
Chickasha City Manager Stewart Fairburn said sales tax has increased 7.7 percent since the last fiscal year, and the year before that, it increased 2.4 percent.
Fairburn said the hotel and motel tax revenue, which goes to the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council to bring new business in town, increased by 25.7 percent during the last fiscal year, and 25.8 percent before that.
"We're in the middle of the [South Central Oklahoma Oil Province] and oil services and companies themselves are buying things," he said.
He said workers in the oil field industry contribute to the full hotels in Chickasha and, thus, the increased hotel and motel taxes.
Fairburn said the city is bringing in the first new housing development since the '70s and working to bring more retail to town, which they've done with newly-opened Interurban and Tractor Supply, to encourage people to live and shop in Chickasha so the city continues to expand.
Chickasha Chamber of Commerce President Mark Rathe said he expects the oil and gas industry to continue to be a strong economic driver, particularly for hotel and motel tax revenue.
Rathe said the city expects $400,000 in hotel and motel tax revenue this year, a jump from $200,000 in 2010, while sales tax revenue is expected to amount to $3.5 million.
"Lots of good things are happening in Chickasha with economic development and oil and gas," he said.
Rathe said it's important to shop locally so the money stays in town and helps Chickasha continue to grow.
Chickasha First National Bank Business Development Officer Paul Lewis said 2,500 oil and gas industry jobs have come to Chickasha recently.
However, oil and gas companies are not among the top three employers in Chickasha.
The largest employers in Chickasha currently are Grady Memorial Hospital with 400 employees, Braum's Dairy with 400 employees and Chickasha Public Schools with 385 employees, according to the Chickasha Economic Development Council.
These companies will continue to employee a lot of people, but the Chickasha Area Economic Development Council is working to bring more high-quality, high-paying jobs here to solve the city's underemployment problem, said Chickasha Area Economic Development Council Executive Director Christy Elkins.
Elkins said the council is also working to bring more retail in town.
At the state level, State Treasurer Ken Miller said the state collected approximately $1.316 billion in April, an increase of $42.54 million or 3.3 percent from last year.
Miller said oil and gas tax collections across the state raised $831.83 million between May 2013 and April 2014, while sales taxes generated $4.306 billion, an increase of $110.34 million or 2.6 percent from the last year