Tulsa voters approve $814 million bond package, Chickasha will get new water plant
Thousands of Oklahoma voters in 14 counties cast ballots in a number of elections to determine the future of school bonds, municipal propositions and more.
These August elections — with relatively low voter turnout — determine the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars in local projects across the state.
Tulsa voters overwhelmingly gave an $814 million infrastructure improvement package a thumbs up. Their vote will raise sales taxes in the city by 0.95 cents. Unofficial results show more than 60% voted in favor of the ballot measures.
Mayor G. T. Bynum had urged Tulsa voters to approve the package.
“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 leading up to the vote.
The projects that will be funded include:
- $93.8 million for inflation-adjusted costs for previously-approved street projects
- $46 million for street widening
- $79.7 million for Performing Arts Center upgrades including ADA compliance, Chapman Hall renovation and facilities updates
- $47.5 million for a new public safety center to include police headquarters and municipal court space
- $58.5 million to upgrade the fire department vehicle fleet
- $95 million for housing initiatives
Chickasha water treatment
Chickasha residents voted to bump up a local sales tax by half a cent to pay for a new water treatment plant.
The Chickasha Municipal Authority provides about 16,000 people in central Oklahoma with drinking water. They overwhelmingly voted to fund a new water treatment plant — about 94% of voters were for the proposition. If the sales tax measured had failed, the city said it would hike water rates by 82%
The current plant, which was completed in the 1970s, 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. The city will cover part of that with the 1.25 cent sales tax voters approved on Tuesday. The current 0.75 cent sales tax is expiring, so Chickasha shoppers will experience an increase of a half a cent for every dollar spent.
Drummond Public Schools
Almost 90% of voters approved a pair of school bonds to pay for a handful of infrastructure projects and new buses to the tune of $3.2 million
The rural public school district in Garfield County — 15 miles southwest of Enid — will get cafeteria improvements, air conditioning in a gym and a health and wellness center for community fitness.
More than two-thirds of voters cast their ballots to approve two propositions.
The first proposition renews 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.
That fee will increase 1%, which will be used to pay for public safety services.
The second increases the lodging tax in Catoosa from 5% to 8%. The money from the increase is earmarked for public safety.
A local sales tax that funds road and trail improvements in the city will continue. More than 70% of Owasso voters approved it.
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.
OPMX's Max Bryan contributed to this report.