Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

February 8, 2013

City ‘tax watch’ begins today

TAHLEQUAH — On the front page of today’s paper, you’ll find the first in what will be an ongoing series to scrutinize the sales tax Tahlequah voters passed Jan. 8.

We pledged to undertake this regular series if the understandably cautious local voters decided to take the plunge and vote for the tax. Many of you believed the three-quarter-cent sales tax was necessary if Tahlequah is to forge a new path into the future. You voted accordingly, and now, it’s our turn.

A few readers have commented that keeping a “watch” on the tax is part of our regular job – and indeed, they’re correct. But what we have in mind is something far more specific. Instead of regular but broad overviews of the various projects, we’ll be looking between the lines, reporting on the minutiae of budgets, and how key people are working behind the scenes.

We’ve undertaken such series before, and so have other newspapers. Some of this might seen boring to the average reader, but for those who are determined to keep track of how their money’s being spent, these finer details could be critical.

By now, most folks know the basic plans: street and sidewalk upgrades; completion of the sports complex, including more stuff for the kids; a cooperative project with NSU to enhance its multipurpose center into an event venue appropriate for city use; the addition of green spaces and projected walking or bicycle trails; and so much more.

As plans develop and the physical work unfolds, we’ll be on the scene when we can, talking to city employees and concerned citizens. We’ll let you know what contractors are doing the work, how much it costs, and how far along various projects have come. If there are delays or problems, we’ll let you know. If expenditures seem questionable or someone suggests a contractor may be getting an advantage from the “good ol’ boy” network, we’ll ask city officials for the scoop, and report back to you.

Our ability to get you the information will, of course, depend on city officials, and in their turn, NSU decision-makers, and the access to records. From the experience we’ve had so far with Mayor Jason Nichols and others involved, we’re confident this will not be a problem. Officials understand our part in the process, and they know about open records, and how critical it is for them to be above board in everything they do – especially when they’ve asked local citizens to contribute to the coffers.

As the developments unfold, you may have questions about different aspects of the work. If you do, drop Staff Writer Josh Newton a line, at jnewton@tahlequah dailypress.com, and he can address your issue in an upcoming installment.

Sales tax advocates have indicated to us they’re eager to keep the public in the loop, and we’ll take them at their word unless we have evidence to the contrary. It’s your job to keep yourself connected to your community. Stay tuned!

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Editorials
  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014

  • Does fracking cause earthquakes? Just in case, get insurance

    There are no professional geologists on the staff of the Tahlequah Daily Press, so we can’t unequivocally say just how much damage fracking is causing to the environment.

    June 27, 2014

  • As chamber scandal expands, plenty of blame to go around

    If the proverbial buck being passed over the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce scandal were a real dollar bill, it would already be worn so thin you could read this newspaper through it.

    June 23, 2014

  • Suicide prevention bill may solve other problems as well

    A bipartisan bill signed into law recently by Gov. Mary Fallin could give schools they leverage and resources they need to help thwart suicide.
    If the initiative works, it could make giant strides in reversing an alarming trend in suicide among teens, and increasingly, among pre-teens. That’s especially important for Oklahoma, where the suicide rate per capita is the 13th highest in the nation.

    June 20, 2014

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