Archive for » June 30th, 2016«

Correction: Exchange-Boat Sales Increase story

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — In an AP Member Exchange story from June 5 about boat sales in Oklahoma, The Journal Record reported erroneously that Steve Jennings, the owner of Blackbeard Marine Inc., said the company did $2 million in sales this year. He said it did $2 million in sales in May.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Oklahoma City-area retailers surprised by hike in boat sales

The state is below the national trend in boat sales, but retailers report this season is faring better than last year

An AP Member Exchange shared by The Journal Record.


The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state is below the national trend in boat sales, but retailers report this season is faring better than last year.

“If you look at both of our locations, we’re up about 70 percent (in sales), year to date,” Steve Jennings, owner of Blackbeard Marine Inc. in Tulsa and Kingston, told The Journal Record ( ).

Jennings works at the Kingston location, which sprawls across 13 acres. The Tulsa store is only about 3 acres, and he said he’s running out of storage room. He said he’s done $2 million in sales this month, with another $2.5 million waiting to close.

“Our summer really gets going May to Labor Day,” he said. “We’ll sell double the rest of the year.”

Nationally, it’s expected to be a good year for boat sales, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The group anticipates sales of new powerboats will increase 5 to 7 percent over last year. In 2015, powerboat sales increased 8.5 percent compared to 2014.

NMMA President Thom Dammrich said warm, sunny weather will drive more people to retailers and waterways. He said boating is not as susceptible to low gasoline prices, though some people do take their extra disposable income and purchase a watercraft.

He said the retail increase is likely about the weather. In Oklahoma last summer, several lakes were flooded, which kept people off the water. But in Texas and California, some areas had drought conditions. This summer, lake levels seem to be returning to normal, he said.

Nevertheless, Oklahoma has to climb out of a small hole from 2014, when boating registrations decreased 1 percent compared to 2013. New powerboat, outboard engine, trailer and aftermarket accessory sales increased $2 million. Between 2013 and 2014, there was about a $28 million increase in the accessory sales, according to the NMMA.

Dammrich said two summers of extreme weather – drought and then flooding – could have caused some boaters or potential boaters to get cabin fever; this year, they were anxious to get to retailers or boat shows.

At Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees, Shangri-La Marina and Boat Sales didn’t see a slowdown in sales after the winter boat shows, said Mike Williams, communications director.

“Sales have been increasing and consistent since the Tulsa and Oklahoma City boat shows in February,” he said.

Sales are up 15 percent compared to the same time period last year. He said his team is surprised at the increase. They were bracing for a slow year after energy-industry layoffs. He said when the price of oil dropped in the 1980s, it devastated the retail boat industry.

“Oklahoma’s economy has become much more diversified, and we can sure see that in boat sales,” he said.

Oklahoma boat registrations have not reached the pre-recession total of 223,758, which was the 2007 amount. Nationwide, Dammrich said sales haven’t reached the 2007 numbers either. In 2007, about 270,000 powerboats were sold, with 238,000 sold in 2015.

“It’s been a slow road back,” he said. “Everyone would like a much faster recovery, but it’s been a healthy way to come back.”

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Manatee County: What sales tax will mean if approved – Sarasota Herald

MANATEE COUNTY — A new East County library and community center, sidewalks for neighborhoods where pedestrians now walk in the streets, replacements for aging playgrounds and athletic facilities and other line items are on a lengthy list of projects the Manatee County administration says could get funded if voters approve a half-cent sales tax.

Currently, Manatee consumers pay 6.5 percent in state and local taxes on non-exempted purchases. The renewal of a half-cent sales tax for the School Board will also be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The county says that, if the electorate approves a sales tax of a half-cent on each dollar for the county, an estimated $345 million would be available over the next 15 years for projects that are now unfunded. The revenue could free property taxes that are otherwise going to capital expenses, many of which cannot be legally paid with impact fees on new construction.

If the tax passes, the county says a typical household will pay about $50 to $70 more in sales taxes each year starting Jan. 1. The county could float bond issues financed by the future recurring income to get projects underway sooner. Impact fees, being one-time charges, cannot be bonded.

County Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh is urging voters to “do your homework” before deciding to support or reject the tax.

In that regard, the county has compiled a 15-page list of projects that could be funded with the new revenue stream that could bring in $23 million annually.

More than 70 percent of the money, nearly $244 million, would go toward transportation work — including more than 80 new or extended sidewalks in areas ranging from Parrish to Bayshore Gardens; traffic signals, turn lanes, mast-arm supports or other upgrades at 23 intersections; and repaving and the possible addition of lanes, sidewalks, lights or bike lanes on 25 existing roads.

More than 15 percent, more than $52 million, would go toward public safety and law enforcement — such as replacing a Sheriff’s Office helicopter, renovating buildings for the Sheriff’s Office, jail renovations, replacing seven lifeguard towers, a replacement ambulance, upgrades to the 911 system and renovations at the frequently overcrowded animal shelter.

More than 14 percent, or more than $48 million, would go toward parks and community amenities — including a new East County library and an expanded Braden River Library and Rocky Bluff Library; new restrooms, reconstructed boardwalks or other work at Kingfish Boat Ramp, the Braden River boat ramp, Leffis Key and Robinson Preserve; more amenities (including a dog park) at Braden River Park and replacement athletic courts or other upgrades at G. T Bray Park, Lakewood Ranch Park, Lincoln Park, Blackstone Park, Bennett Park, Myakka Park, the John H. Marble Recreation Center and Coquina Beach.

In December, the county assembled the 13-member Citizens Financial Structure Advisory Board to address the issue of whether the county needs to diversify its revenue sources.

After more than four months of study, the committee concluded that the county is too dependent on property taxes, which are 18 percent below what was collected prior to the recession while during the same period the population grew by 40,000 to now exceed 363,000. Because of exemptions, roughly a third of property owners pay 67 percent of the county’s property taxes.

The county estimates that tourists would pay roughly a third of the sales tax.

Yet whether voters will endorse a tax hike is an uncertainty.

In 2013, the county asked the electorate to approve a half-cent sales tax to subsidize health care for the underinsured and uninsured. More than 60 percent of participating voters rejected the idea.


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