Oklahomans head to the polls for a smattering of local elections
Elections from Tulsa to Chickasha will determine the fate of a bevy of local projects next Tuesday.
Voters in 14 counties across Oklahoma are heading to the polls next Tuesday to determine the future of school bonds, municipal propositions and more.
To view a sample ballot, visit Oklahoma’s voter portal.
Tulsa’s leaders are talking up a capital improvement funding package.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Mayor G.T. Bynum said most of the $814 million Improve Our Tulsa 3 package is about maintenance.
“We have allowed facilities across the city to fall behind when it comes to maintenance. Earlier this year, my colleagues on the council and I went on a tour of really critical city facilities. What we saw — and I say this as somebody who loves Tulsa — it was embarrassing,” Bynum said.
Bynum spoke about a slate of other maintenance issues, including sewage problems at Tulsa’s courthouse, brown water flowing from faucets at the police station, and public parks with crumbling pavement.
$270 million of the Improve Our Tulsa package would be allocated for city facilities like the fire department. $296 million would go to street repair.
About $153 million is marked for capital equipment, and housing projects would get $95 million.
The city would fund Improve Our Tulsa through a renewal of a .95% temporary sales tax already in place.
For a more detailed breakdown of where funds would go, click here.
Chickasha water treatment
Chickasha voters will decide whether the city bumps up its sales tax by half a cent to pay for a new water treatment plant. If the sales tax measure fails, the city will increase water rates by 82% to fund the plant.
The Chickasha Municipal Authority provides about 16,000 people in central Oklahoma with drinking water. All of it comes from Fort Cobb Reservoir into Chickasha’s treatment plant, which was completed in the 1970s. The plant is operating under consent orders from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality — special arrangements that allow the system to keep its permits while it works to fix violations.
The city says its water treatment plant is “operating past its useful life and is at risk of catastrophic failure.” It lies in a FEMA-designated special flood hazard area between the Washita River and Line Creek.
But a new plant will cost $74 million, by the city’s estimates. It could be partially funded with a 1.25 cent sales tax on every dollar spent in Chickasha. The city’s current 0.75 cent sales tax is expiring, so Chickasha shoppers would experience an increase of half a cent for every dollar.
Drummond Public Schools
The rural public school district in Garfield County — 15 miles southwest of Enid — is hoping to pass a pair of school bonds to pay for a handful of infrastructure projects and new buses to the tune of $3.2 million.
The bond would pay for cafeteria improvements, air conditioning in a gym and a health and wellness center for community fitness.
Voters in Catoosa will consider two propositions.
The first proposition would renew the public Service Company of Oklahoma’s existing franchise “which grants them the non-exclusive right to serve Catoosa customers for twenty-five years for a percentage fee to be paid back to the city,” according to the city.
If voters approve the proposition, that fee will increase 1%, which will be used to pay for public safety services.
The second would increase the lodging tax in Catoosa from 5% to 8%. The money from the increase will also be earmarked for public safety.
Owasso voters will consider a proposition to continue a local sales tax that funds road and trail improvements in the city.
The city intends to use the funds for improvements at several intersections, widening some roads and on the Ranch Creek Trail project, linking together various parts of the trail system in Owasso.
Voters can learn more about this election by visiting their local election board or by seeing a sample ballot on their voter portal via the State Election Board website.