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.