The Latest from Crawford CPAs

Crawford and Associates is committed to promoting public accountability and stewardship of public resources. We are significantly involved as leaders in the state and local government financial management arena. We'll keep you informed of the latest developments and other company news via these blog postings.

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Laws Chat

Laws Chat is dedicated to updating Oklahoma municipal officials on important changes each legislative session in state laws that could have an impact on municipal finance and accounting. Crawford & Associates stay actively involved with the Oklahoma Municipal League in monitoring and updating these state laws.

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HB 1875  Reduces OTC sales tax collection retention fee paid by cities and towns to 0.5%.

HB 2405  Limits tort liabilities based on Oklahoma constitution or state law to the limits of the Governmental Tort Claims Act.

HB 2480  Allows regional economic development authorities to levy a sales tax not to exceed 2% for economic development or transportation needs.

HB 2630  Requires OPERS to establish a defined contribution plan for state employees on or after 11/1/2015.

HB 3217  Amends statutes regarding a petition for the State Auditor audit of any political subdivision. Petition signatures will now require 25% of those voting is last general election.

HB 3251  Amends Public Competitive Bidding Act by increasing expenditure limit for emergency purchases from $35,000 to $75,000.

SB 212  Authorizes Police Pension System to refund municipal contributions when paid by mistake of fact.

SB 1023  Prohibits cities and towns from setting minimum wage and employee benefit requirements for employers within its jurisdiction.

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HB 1081  Amends the unit price exemption in change orders on public construction contracts from $10,000 to $20,000.

HB 1874  Allows the Oklahoma Tax Commission and municipalities to enter into contracts providing for the OTC collection of municipal lodging taxes.

HB 2078  Amends Firefighter Pension System laws for changes to the plan, including an increase in minimum contribution requirements by the municipal employer and employee from a combined 21% to 23%, with minimum firefighter contribution rates increased from 8% to 9%, and minimum municipal employer rates increased from 13% to 14%, effective November 1, 2013.

SB 461  Amends Public Competitive Bidding Act to prohibit awarding a public construction contract exceeding $50,000 to any contractor affiliated with a purchasing cooperative unless all Act provisions are met.

SB 630  Creates a new law on sole source purchase contracts.

SB 1090  Amends worker compensation law and allows municipalities to place workers comp judgments on the sinking fund ad valorem tax rolls.

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HB 2928  Extends apportionment of state gross production tax for community water funds through June 30, 2016.  Beginning July 1, 2016 4.28% will go in to REAP grant fund. Provides funding source for municipal water projects. 

HB 2945  Increases the minimum value of confiscated property from $100 to $250 in which written notice of a hearing is required before disposition of property.

SB 46  Provides a sales tax exemption to the surviving unremarried spouses of 100% disabled veterans on sales not to exceed $1,000 per year.

SB 1075  Expands the conflict of interest exemption to municipalities with a population of not more than 5,000 and to activities not exceeding $5,000 for any single activity or $15,000 for all activities in a calendar year. Also clarifies that provisions do not apply in certain competitive bid circumstances.

SB 1471  Gives the State DHS the priority claim for refunds from the Tax Commission over municipal courts and district courts.

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HB 1075 Reduces the amount of retainage required on partial payments for competitively bid construction contracts from 5% to 10%. Bill effective 11/1/11.

HB 1366 Allows a governing body to create a municipal energy district authority to coordinate enery-efficient improvements with electric utilities. Bill effective 11/1/11.

HB 1593 Repeals the Municipal employee Collective Bargaining Act that applied to municipalities with population over 35,000. Bill effective 11/1/11.

SB 96 Amends the Public Competitive Bidding Act by increasing from $2,500 to $5,000, the maximum construction contract that may be negotiated with a qualified contractor. Bill effective 11/1/11.

SB 123 and 216 Requires the Oklahoma Tax Commission to strengthen the audit and enforcement of municipal sales tax collection through a variety of efforts and actions, including the establishment of a state task force. Bills effective 8/26/11.

SB 331 Amends the taxpayer lawsuit provisions to remove certain liabilities to municipal officers from their actions and increases the number of registered voters required to initiate such a lawsuit from 10 to 100 or 2.5% of registered voters, whichever is less. Also, if the court determines the claim has merit, the related contract is deemed void and the money or property returned to the municipality. The municipality would then be liable for resident taxpayers reasonable attorney fees and court costs incurred. Bill effective 11/1/11.

SB 347 Provides for the forfeiture of pension benefits by a municipal officer or employee for any convicteion of a felony for bribery, corruption, forgery, perjury, or any other crime related to the duties of his/her office or employment. Bill effective 8/26/11.

SB 708 Requires development impact fees to be based on actual system improvement costs or certian reliable estimates for certain public infrastructure improvements and limits the use of such fees to specific purposes. Bill effective 11/1/11.

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HB 2541 Requires municipal courts to keep confidential all personal identifying information of the parties involved in any case, including credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and bank account numbers. It provides an exception for the Oklahoma Tax Commission for the purpose of collecting municipal court fees. The bill goes into effect on November, 1, 2010.

HB 2653 Creates a nine-member Task Force on Municipal Finance to examine the laws governing municipal finance for all forms of municipal government. It requires the task force to submit a report to the House speaker, Senate president pro tempore and governor by Jan. 31, 2011. It states that the task force is to terminate effective Feb. 1, 2011.

HB 3054 Creates the Municipal Fiscal Impact Act requiring a fiscal impact statement for a bill the legislative committee wishes to consider or approve. This will slow down legislative enactments of unfunded mandates. The bill goes into effect on November 1, 2010.

HB 2556 Establishes a 50-cent prepaid wireless 911 fee to be collected by the seller and remitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. It requires the Tax Commission to pay remitted prepaid wireless 911 fees to the governing bodies that the Statewide 911 Advisory Board has certified as eligible to receive the funds, and it requires the commission to develop a formula for allocation based on population. It directs revenue distributed to governing bodies to be used only for services related to 911 emergency wireless telephone services, including automatic number identification and automatic location information services. It prohibits any additional tax, fee, surcharge or other charge on prepaid wireless 911 services from being imposed by the state, any political subdivision or any intergovernmental agency for 911 funding purposes. The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2011.

HB 3313 Increases the amount from $25,000 to $50,000 for contracts for construction, labor, equipment, material or repairs to be awarded by public trusts to the lowest and best competitive bidder. It allows the trust to use funds in an amount exceeding $50,000 to award a contract without public notice or competitive bids if an immediate emergency exists and the use is necessary to avoid loss of life, substantial damage to property or damage to the public peace or safety. It also modifies language to require other construction contracts for the purpose of making any public improvements or constructing or making repairs to any public building for $50,000 or less to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder by receipt of written bids or awarded on the basis of competitive quotes to the lowest responsible qualified contractor. It allows work to be commenced in accordance with the purchasing policy of the public agency. The bill also modifies language to allow other construction contracts for less than $25,000 to be negotiated with a qualified contractor. The bill goes into effect on November 1, 2010.

HB 2359 Allows municipalities to enforce or augment Oklahoma Tax Commission enforcement of their sales and use taxes through audits performed either directly or through contract with private auditors.

SB 1998 Allows boards of county commissioners to construct, improve, repair or maintain any streets of a municipality with a population of less than 5,000, subject to an agreement between the county and municipal governing bodies, without regard to whether the municipality has passed a sales tax with proceeds earmarked to construct, improve, repair or maintain any of the streets or roadways of the municipality. It clarifies that language pertinent to a municipality with a population of less than 15,000 pertains to a municipality with a population of less than 15,000 and more than 5,000. It allows a board of county commissioners to construct, improve, repair or maintain streets of such a municipality even if it has passed a sales tax. It also allows boards of county commissioners to construct, improve, repair or maintain any of the streets of a municipality if the county has a population in excess of 500,000, regardless of whether the municipality has passed a sales tax with proceeds earmarked for such construction or improvements. The bill went into effect on May 13, 2010.

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