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December 14, 1995

Kevin and Shelly Wiley have one of Perry's most unusual yard decorations this Christmas season at their home on West Fir avenue. It's composed almost entirely of bales of hay, both the round and rectangular variety, in clever arrangements. The centerpiece is formed by three round bales stacked in graduated sizes, with the smallest at the top, to resemble a very large snowman, topped by a king-size Western hat. On either side are rectangular bales stacked pyramid fashion so that they look like twin Christmas trees, complete with multi-colored lights and other yuletide decorations. If you haven't caught sight of this, it's worth a trip to see.

The town has many, many bright and twinkling holiday decorations in the business area, the courthouse park, and throughout the residential areas. Every year we seem to have more and more of these, some quite elaborate and some charming in their simplicity. Additions to the downtown display have been made annually with proceeds from the annual Christmas homes tour, and we have now accumulated a really impressive collection.

Perry is a veritable Christmas wonderland by night. Thanks to each of you who have contributed to the joy of the season by decorating your home, your church and/or your business. The rest of us appreciate all that you've done, and perhaps you have even inspired some of us to join in.

Shoppers in this area should be flocking to Perry stores to take advantage of honest to goodness savings. Perhaps it escaped your attention, but Perry now has the lowest sales tax rate of any city in this immediate vicinity, according to figures supplied by the Oklahoma tax commission. Our rate in Perry went down to 5.75% on Oct. 1 after the municipal hospital improvement levy expired.

Local merchants should capitalize on this fact every chance they get. It's an advantage any town would like to claim. Our present city tax rate is a mere 1%, the lowest in this area. Ponca City's is 3%, Enid's is 3%, Guthrie's is 3%, Stillwater's is 3%, and Oklahoma City's is 3.875%. Of course, those are merely city sales tax rates. The state of Oklahoma collects an additional 4.5%; Garfield county imposes a 1% county sales tax, Payne county's is .50%; Logan county's is 1%; and Noble county's is .25%.

So, if you bought a $300 appliance in Stillwater, you'd pay 8 percent sales tax -- 4.50% state, .50% county and 3% city. That would add $24 to your purchase price, making a total of $324. The same appliance in Perry would cost a total of $317.25, including tax, a saving of $6.75. Plus, you wouldn't have the added expense of driving your car to our neighbors over there, and you'd have the satisfaction of knowing that your tax dollars were going to benefit this community, not someone else's.

Summarizing, Stillwater's total sales tax bite is 8%; Enid's is 8.5%; Ponca City's is 7.5%; Guthrie's is 8.5%; and Perry's is a relatively modest 5.75%. We'd all do well to remember these figures.

How about a word of commendation for the three banks in Perry. They certainly do their part to set a standard of excellence in maintaining their property. All three have attractive buildings, well landscaped on the outside and very tastefully decorated interiors. The Exchange Bank & Trust is adding a neat white fence on the north side of its drive through lanes and the adjacent unoccupied property is newly leveled and cleaned off. This proves again that eyesores can be converted to something worthwhile. Let's tackle some more of these spots in the business and residential areas.