Around the country, if you examine the cities that have done extraordinary things for their residents and for their local economy, they all have some type of corresponding revenue stream that makes it possible. In Oklahoma, our cities depend on local sales tax for their routine operations. To achieve anything above and beyond ordinary/routine spending requires supplemental funding. If a city wants to grow beyond the “ordinary” and accomplish something “extraordinary,” it requires an equally extraordinary funding stream.
Okmulgee has seen a great deal of growth and forward momentum in recent years. If we want to keep Okmulgee rising, we need to ensure our city officials have the funds they need to continue to stimulate new growth and maintain this momentum.
Q: What can you tell me about the proposed City of Okmulgee Sales Tax Extension that will be on the ballot next week?
A: Okmulgee residents have the opportunity to help ensure our town continues to rise by showing up at the polls next Tuesday (April 2) and voting in favor of the one cent ($.01) city sales tax proposal. This is not a new tax. It has been part of our city sales tax for more than twenty years.
You may be interested to know that within Okmulgee, one cent in sales tax generates approximately $1.5 million per year.
Okmulgee currently collects four cents on every taxable dollar spent within the community. Two cents goes to the city’s general operating fund and two cents goes to retire debt on (mainly) infrastructure improvements. This includes the bond that was used to rehab the wastewater treatment plant, expand our public library, and for several other improvement projects.
The bond in question is set to retire as soon as it is paid off and so will the one cent local sales tax associated with it (that’s half of the two cents that goes toward debt retirement). The proposal on Tuesday’s ballot is designed to continue the one cent sales tax after the bond retires and to allow the City of Okmulgee to apply those dollars toward its general operating fund in support of public safety projects, infrastructure, and capital outlays for future growth.
Okmulgee is an old town with an aging infrastructure. Consider that some of our water and sewer systems are nearly 100 years old and will require more and more repairs and replacements every year. If we want water and sewer to continue to flow, we need this revenue stream to continue to flow.
A vote in favor of the proposed sales tax increase is a vote to allow Okmulgee to continue its current level of taxing authority and to continue to have access to $1.5 million each year that, in turn, can be used to continue making improvements all across our community. Again, this is NOT a new tax, it is part of our existing four cents local sales tax already being collected.
I hope each of Okmulgee’s advocates and supporters will remember to vote on Tuesday. It’s important for the future growth and development of our town. Please continue to send your thoughts and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.