- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2002

BETHANY (AP) Leaders of this Oklahoma city are tired of losing shoppers to neighboring cities and have drawn the line.
Desperate for sales-tax dollars, they painted an 18-inch-wide blue line around the city corresponding to its jagged boundary with neighboring Oklahoma City and Warr Acres.
The goal is to make sure Bethany's 21,000 residents don't mistakenly drive outside the city to dine, shop or have their cars repaired.
"When you shop past the blue line, you're supporting the police and fire departments in Oklahoma City and Warr Acres not Bethany," said City Manager Dan Galloway, one of the brains behind the blue line. "Before we convince our people they need to shop here, we better make certain they know where Bethany is."
Bethany can use all the help it can get.
The city hasn't filled 14 staff positions, including for two police officers and two firefighters, because it doesn't have the money, Mr. Galloway said. Bethany brings in $185 per capita each year in sales tax, compared with $455 in Oklahoma City and about $300 in Warr Acres.
"Things are getting pretty lean," the city manager said.
City council members also have been handing out blue-trimmed window decals to the town's approximately 300 businesses that say "Bethany Means Business."
The line and decals color-coordinated with Bethany's blue street signs made the town's northeastern border city a bit nervous. Warr Acres has put up signs near the entrance to Bethany that say, "Warning: Higher Taxes Ahead."
Bethany's city sales tax is 4 percent, compared with 2.5 percent in Warr Acres.
The line is only part of Bethany's plan to break down its anti-business image, which has roots to the early 1900s. The town's original 40 acres were donated to a group associated with the Church of the Nazarene, and the inhabitants prohibited the sale of alcohol or tobacco.

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