FROM THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:
SITUATION UPDATE: COVID-19 (February 25)
As of this advisory, there are 422,156 (up 1,146) confirmed total positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
There are 38 additional deaths identified including a death each in Logan, Noble and Pawnee Counties. There have been 4,302 total deaths in the state. There are 1,151 new recoveries for a total of 404,310. There are 43 fewer current active cases in the state for a total of 13,544.
REGIONAL COUNTY/CITY NUMBERS (February 25)
COUNTY CASES DEATHS RECOVERIES ACTIVE
PAYNE 8305 46 8063 201
CREEK 6484 112 6201 171
LINCOLN 3016 54 2876 86
LOGAN 3958 27 3793 138
NOBLE 1341 12 1273 56
PAWNEE 1697 31 1619 47
STILLWATER 5948 23 5787 138
FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
The City of Stillwater wants to let its power customers know it is too early to know the impact of last week’s extreme cold weather on bills.
“We just don’t know at this point,” said City Manager Norman McNickle. “We are in discussion with Grand River Dam Authority (which provides electric power to Stillwater). In addition, Governor Stitt, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the American Public Power Association and others are evaluating the drastic jump in natural gas prices due to demand and shortage of supply.”
The next Stillwater utility billing cycle is February 26 and customers on that cycle will likely see an increase in their bill because of increased usage due to the extreme weather that hit the region.
However, the per kWh price for electricity is not changing at this time. So, any increases in a customer’s normal bill will be from increased usage, not an increase in electric rates.
“We cannot increase what we charge for energy without approval from the Stillwater Utilities Authority trustees,” McNickle said. “It’s just too early to know what the impact might be. It will take several weeks before the true cost of this event is known. But we will have to recover the costs for this extraordinary event.”
The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) has a rate stabilization account that will most likely help address the increase in energy costs. “In theory this is exactly what the fund was designed to do,” GRDA said in an update to its customers.
Stillwater utility customers are reminded that the City only provides electric and water service, not service for gas.
Customers also are reminded that even if their utility bill is set for auto pay, they will receive their statement approximately 21 days before the bill is due. Customers are encouraged to review their bill before the due date and contact the City if they are concerned about the amount.
The City of Stillwater has extended the temporary moratorium on disconnects for unpaid bills. The City is always willing to discuss payment plans for service with customers.
McNickle said the City will notify utility customers when more information is available.
FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
The City of Stillwater’s February 2021 sales and use tax collection totaled $2,717,940. The collection is based off December transactions that were reported to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in January and apportioned to the City in February.
This is an increase from February 2020 total collections by $64,871 (2.45 percent).
The City of Stillwater’s sales tax collections in February 2021 were $2,376,241, which is up $16,848 (0.71 percent) from February 2020.
The City of Stillwater’s use tax collections in February 2021 were $341,699, which is up $48,023 (16.35 percent) from February 2020.
Hotel/motel tax remitted to the City in February 2021 totaled $30,321, which is down from February 2020 collections by $25,717 (45.89 percent), which shows the effects of the current pandemic. The Hotel Room Tax Annual Budget was amended on January 25, 2021, from $800,000 to $500,000.
In Oklahoma, sales tax is the largest source of recurring revenue for municipalities, and the novel coronavirus has brought many challenges and unknowns related to the dependability of that revenue source. Changes in how businesses in the community operate and in the shopping habits of citizens as well as the canceling of community events all jeopardize the reliability of local sales tax revenue.
Although Stillwater has experienced only modest effects to sales tax since the start of the pandemic, it is important to keep in mind that the City is also not experiencing overall growth, which is the desire for our local economy. Lack of growth in local sales tax generation limits future opportunities for expanding City services and capital investment. The future health of sales tax revenue is dependent on the community’s ability to reopen businesses, reemploy our citizens and reengage public activity and events. Sales tax collections will be monitored very closely in the coming months, and amendments to the City’s budget will be made as needed.
For more information about the budget and taxes, visit the City’s Financial Center at http://stillwater.org/budget.
FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
It’s that time of the year again — the City of Stillwater is entering the Budget Preparation Phase of the budget cycle and is calling on you to participate. The Budget Preparation Phase is a period from January to March where the City takes public input to develop the next fiscal year’s budget.
City officials are interested in what Stillwater residents want to see budgeted. If you would like to give your input on the City’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget from home, try our interactive, online budget tool. The tool allows citizens to submit their ideal City budget and results are presented directly to City Council and staff.
Another way to get involved virtually is through Speak Up Stillwater, the City’s civic engagement platform. Here you can ask questions, give suggestions and sign up for updates.
Residents are also welcome to speak directly to City Council at scheduled public hearings on the City’s budget. See details for public meetings at Stillwater.org/agenda. Remember to fill out the Request to Speak Form.
For more information on the City's finances, go to stillwater.org/budget.