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Oklahoma City Council To Consider Sales Tax And Bond Measures

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Brian Hardzinski / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
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Three proposals could provide millions of dollars in funding for Oklahoma City roads, sidewalks and other public facilities.

Three new sales tax and bond proposals could raise more than a billion dollars for public projects in Oklahoma City.

Two of the proposals would replace the one-cent MAPS 3 sales tax, which will expire at the end of this year, according to a city press release. Part of the MAPS tax would be replaced by a permanent one-quarter-cent sales tax to be reinvested into the city’s General Fund, which pays for public safety, animal control, parks, transit and other basic services. The tax is expected to generate $26 million per year.

The rest of the MAPS tax would be replaced by a temporary three-quarter-cent sales tax, which is expected to generate $180 million in revenue. $126 million would fund street resurfacing, $9 million would pay for trails, $9 million would fund bicycle infrastructure, $18 million would go toward sidewalks and $9 million would pay for streetscapes.

The largest proposal is a general obligation bond package totaling $967 million. The bond would allow the city to pay for infrastructure projects without raising property taxes. Planned expenditures include:

  • $28 million for traffic control
  • $27 million for bridges
  • $138 million for parks and recreation
  • $62 million for drainage control
  • $60 million for economic and community development
  • $45 million for firefighting facilities
  • $31 million for police facilities
  • $24 million for libraries $20 million for transit
  • $20 million for the Civic Center complex
  • $13 million for city maintenance facilities
  • $9 million for the downtown area

The plan will pay for necessary public services without trying to pass a politically unpopular tax increase.
“Tax increases are difficult to pass in this climate. The economy’s a little slow,” City Manager Jim Couch said. “We need the resources to repave streets. We cover a lot of area and we have a lot of streets that need resurfacing, and this is an attempt to respond to our citizens’ desires.”

The Oklahoma City Council will consider a public forum on the proposals on June 13 and will vote on June 20. If approved, each proposal will be subject to a public vote on September 12.

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