Cross promotion increases sales tax

Roseanne McKee

Cross promotion by the nonprofit Green Country Marketing Association and others in Osage and Washington counties is increasing the tourism value of small towns in our region with some impressive results, the executive director of GCMA says.

“By cross promoting within our region we build a bigger product. We’re not Disney World, but we have a lot of attractions. They’re just more spread out. By cross promoting, we keep visitors in the area longer, thus creating impact for those communities,” said Jackie Stewart, executive director of GCMA.

“Green Country Marketing was started in 1965 – developed in Bartlesville. We’ve been promoting and developing ever since. I’ve seen the establishment, particularly in the past 20 years, of convention and visitors bureaus in the 18 counties of northeast Oklahoma. They work together with each other and with Green Country in an effort to bring more visitors to the area,” Stewart said.

Green Country Marketing Association is a part of the statewide multi-county program and provides marketing and advertising promotions to its members and others within the region, producing five annual publications and dozens of advertising co-ops including television, magazines, newspapers and social media.

Sales tax is up in Dewey and Pawhuska, due in part to the influx of tourism dollars. In addition to a renovation of their main streets, Dewey and Pawhuska have a number of annual events, such as the Indian Taco Competition and the Cavalcade Rodeo, in Pawhuska and the Western Heritage weekend in Dewey, which highlight what these examples of small town life offer to tourists.

Sales tax is trending up after a dry spell in Dewey, said City Manager Kevin Trease at the Dewey City Council meeting Monday night.

For the fourth month in a row, sales tax, which contributes significantly to the city’s bottom line, was above the $60,000 mark.

Sales tax, collected previously and received by the city of Dewey for the month of October, was $63,196.34.

“In years past we’ve had better years,” said Mayor Tom Hays. “It looks like we’re coming back in the right direction.”

According to a printed monthly sales report provided by Trease, the sales tax reached its highest level annually in fiscal year 2014-15 with $876,570.59 collected. That number dropped $90,251.76 in fiscal year 2015-16. This downward trend continued in fiscal year 2016-17, dropping $121,251.76, and in 2017-18 dropping $166,142.04 below the 2014-15 high.

Trease acknowledges that despite revitalization in retail businesses on the main thoroughfare in Dewey, Don Tyler Avenue, the oil and gas production slump in the region during the past few years may have been a factor in the lower sales tax figures in 2016-17. However, tourism cross promotion between the counties may be reversing that trend.

Pawhuska’s increase in sales tax revenue following the opening of the Pioneer Woman Mercantile on Oct. 31, 2016, may be starting to spill over into Washington County. The increase in tourism spending caused the Pawhuska city sales numbers to move above the one million mark annually from $926,762.59 in fiscal year 2015-16 to $1,340,759.14 in fiscal year 2017-18, according to sales tax figures provided by Pawhuska City Councilman Steve Holcombe. The most recent sales tax figure for the month of October in Pawhuska is $106,671.81, the report by Holcombe stated.