Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cleveland County Ask for Sales Tax Vote

Cleveland County Board of Commissioners voted Monday for a County wide election for a quarter cent sales tax. The proceeds of the sales tax would go exclusively to the construction debt and future M&O of the new detention center. The sales tax is set to sunset in 20 years and any additional proceeds will be used to pay down the debt.

Fox 25 interviewed Commissioner Sullivan Monday - See the video.

The Board of Commissioners had three options of financing; pay the debt from General Revenue, pay debt with an addition property tax millage or with a sales tax. All though the County has been able to save money each year for capital improvements, the obligation size each year would be greater than what the county has been able to save and there would not be money available for any increases in the cost of supplies and energy or any emergencies.

A County wide sales tax would generate the amount needed to pay the debt and possibly at an advanced rate. Cleveland County has approximately $1.2 billion in consumer sales subject to a County sales tax. When you start projecting the growth and additional restaurants and retail stores in Moore and Norman, this amount could grow by 20% or more over the next 5 years. This is not factoring in the TIFF at the University Park in Norman.

The Board of County Commissioners are looking at all alternatives. One alternative is asking the University of Oklahoma to be a community partner. The University is the largest land holder in Cleveland County with no property tax generated. The University uses Cleveland County and Norman public resources, such as fire, police and roads. One way that the University could participate would be asking for a Public Safety Fee on all athletic tickets sold through the athletic department. This fee could be used to pay down the debt and to help with the M&O for the Sheriff's department.

Let your County Commissioner know you thoughts on the upcoming vote December 9, 2008.

"Every County, by authority of the Board of County Commissioners and at the expense of the County, Shall have a jail or access to a jail in another County for the safekeeping of prisoners lawfully committed. Oklahoma State Statutes 57 § 41

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