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Norman voters approve hotel tax increase, while Moore and Garfield County voters reject proposals

Xcaret Nuñez

Voters in 22 Oklahoma counties cast ballots in local elections Tuesday.

In Garfield County, a 0.3% percent sales tax increase to expand and renovate the county jail was resoundingly voted down. The increase would have funded 82 additional beds and 16,000 more square feet to ease overcrowding of the jail. Officials say the jail has been over capacity for more than a decade.

“No one can dispute that Garfield County has an overcrowding problem in its jail and other challenges that are going unaddressed, such as mental health and substance abuse issues,” jail administrator Ben Crooks told the Enid News & Eagle. “But the voters have decided the level of risks they will accept. I believe that risk is high.”

A similar proposal was rejected by voters last fall, with nearly 63 percent voting against. On Tuesday, the no vote increased to more than 75 percent.

In Moore, voters said no to a curbside recycling program, with nearly 55 percent of the vote against. It’s the second time since 2016 voters have turned the proposition down. The program would have cost residents nearly four dollars more per month, with an increase of two percent every year for five years.

In Norman, nearly 70 percent of voters approved an increase of their hotel room excise tax from 5 percent to 8 percent. Revenue from the tax will be spent on promoting sports tourism and conventions, improving Norman's parks, public art and cultural and music festivals. The tax will only be paid by visitors staying in Norman, not residents.

You can find full results, including those in Ada, Bartlesville, Cashion, Felt, Hobart, Kellyville and Weatherford, on the State Election Board’s website.

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Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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