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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness



NOTE: The OSDH no longer reports deaths in the state of Oklahoma.

    As of this advisory, there are 429,162 (up 165) confirmed total positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma. There are 413 new recoveries for a total of 412,590. There are 248 fewer current active cases in the state for a total of 12,038.

PAYNE           8442            8196            203
CREEK          6649            6386            146
LINCOLN       3099            2972              79
LOGAN          4020            3847            145
NOBLE          1358            1294              50
PAWNEE       1731            1644              55

STILLWATER  6030          5875             134


Payne County residents are encouraged to submit details on any damage to homes or businesses from February’s extreme cold weather to be considered for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The damage reports should be sent to the State of Oklahoma at www.damage.ok.gov by March 25.

Examples of significant damage include flooding and water damage inside the home from broken pipes, roof damage or roof collapse, major damage to HVAC systems and electrical systems, sewage backups, long-term water outages, or other issues. Users should upload photos of their damage through the website.

Submitting the information does not guarantee assistance because Payne County is not one of the initial declared counties for FEMA individual assistance. The extent of the reported damage could change Payne County’s status. FEMA will be evaluating the reported damage to justify including additional counties to the declaration.

The current declared counties are Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Comanche, Cotton, Hughes, Jefferson, Le Flore, McIntosh, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Stephens, Tulsa, and Wagoner.

FEMA individual assistance for those in declared counties provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster who have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs.

Assistance is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster. The assistance is intended to meet basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts.  For additional information go to www.fema.gov/assistance/individual/program



On Feb. 24, the Stillwater City Council adopted Ordinance No. 3472 which allows the City’s face covering ordinance (No.3452) to remain in effect through May 25, 2021. Residents and visitors should expect to continue following the current rules and regulations for face coverings through this new expiration date.

Council held a special meeting to extend the face covering ordinance before it expired on Feb. 28, a date set by the adoption of Ordinance No. 3463 back in November. Watch the meeting replay on the City’s YouTube channel, City of Stillwater TV.

The ordinance requires that everyone wears a face covering in all public spaces, including educational institutions, food services, retail and personal service establishments that provide goods or services directly to the public. Exceptions outlined in the ordinance include, but are not limited to, persons with medical, mental or developmental conditions, children under age 5 (unless required by school or day care to wear a face covering), and non-public areas or workplaces. See details and answers to common questions at Stillwater.org/covid-19.

Acceptable face coverings include R95, KN95, dust masks, procedural masks, cotton bandanas, neck gaiters, running buffs and some tightly woven scarves. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The City has an Ordinance 3452 Hotline (405.533.8533) that businesses or residents may call to report non-compliance or if they have questions.



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.



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.

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