The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 June 2004

Warr on taxes

The community of Warr Acres, an enclave within Oklahoma City's northwest quadrant, has one claim to fame: its 6.5-percent sales tax rate (2 for Warr Acres, 4.5 for the state of Oklahoma), the lowest in the metro area. (Neighboring Bethany collects 8.5 percent; Oklahoma City, 8.375 percent.) Signs posted on the way out of town contain the ominous message "Warning: Higher Taxes Ahead."

Unfortunately, there may be higher taxes ahead for shoppers in Warr Acres. With the closing of the Wal-Mart store along the community's section of Northwest Distressway — Sam's myrmidons relocated to a larger box farther up the road, within Oklahoma City limits — tax collections are way down, and Warr Acres' share of a widening project for MacArthur Boulevard, its main north-south thoroughfare, is coming due. Mayor Marietta Tardibono is considering raising the sales tax, which will require a vote by residents, probably early next year.

This isn't the first time that a suburb has lost a retailer to the city, either; Albertson's closed its store on the northwest corner of Britton and May, in The Village, and moved across the street to the southwest corner, which is in Oklahoma City. A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at the opposite end of The Village is presumably taking up some of the slack, but nothing so far has replaced the town's two auto dealerships, both of which have moved to areas with large clusters of dealers.

Still, this is very much the opposite of the situation in many other metro areas, where retailers are bailing out of the city and moving to the 'burbs. Oklahoma City no doubt is congratulating itself on its foresight in annexing everything within arm's reach in the 1960s.

Posted at 8:35 AM to City Scene

When your proudest accomplishment is yoru 6.5% sales tax rate, you might want to re-evaluate your strategic plan.

Since Warr Acres is in the excellent Putnam City school district, what exactly is its purpose for existence?

Posted by: Dan Lovejoy at 10:04 PM on 23 June 2004

Well, when this area was called Oklacadian, developer Israel Putnam had plans to move the state capital there. Which, of course, didn't happen. The area called "Putnam City" got its first consolidated school (combining three former one-room schools) in 1914; Warr Acres, the fusion of three neighborhoods instigated by C. B. Warr (who also developed the area which includes Surlywood), dates to 1948. Oklahoma City had yet to expand into these areas, and Bethany had been established way back in 1913.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:37 PM on 23 June 2004

Oh but I intentionally make large purchases in Warr Acres whenever possible to take full advantage of the tax savings! Don't you?

Posted by: ms7168 at 9:15 AM on 24 June 2004

It's got to be a damned large purchase to make that much of a difference.

I bought a set of appliances from Sears last year — fridge, washer/dryer — for $1500 or so. The difference between Midwest City (then 7.5 percent) and OKC was a hair over $12. If Warr Acres had had a Sears store, which they don't, it would have been $15 cheaper than in Midwest City, which is where the stuff was actually bought.

Now fifteen bucks is fifteen bucks, and I'm not so wealthy that I can sneer at it, but I don't drive across town to save seven cents on a gallon of gas, either.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:00 AM on 24 June 2004