Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 9, 2013

Sales tax approved

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah voters gave approval Tuesday for the city to collect an additional 3/4-percent sales tax to fund $21 million in capital improvement projects.

Unofficial tallies show 52.5 percent, or 506 voters, favored the tax proposal, with 457 voters, or 47.5 percent, opposing it.

“I’m very pleased,” said Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols. “I want to say thank you to the people of Tahlequah for supporting the measure, because the initiative was very vital to the community’s future. I want everyone who was skeptical of this for oversight reasons, or any other reason, to know we’ll do everything we can to continue answering the questions they have, and we’ll be as transparent as possible.”

Election results are not official until Friday evening.

Fewer than 1,000 of the city’s 5,000-plus registered voters cast their ballots in the special election for the tax. Vote totals at all city precincts, and those cast early and through absentee ballots favored the tax proposal.

Tahlequah Ward 4 Councilor Linda Spyres said she is “thrilled” voters approved the sales tax increase.

“Now, Tahlequah’s future is assured for the next several years,” said Spyres. “We appreciate everyone who voted. This may be one of the most important things you will do for Tahlequah. Without your support, all of the projects would not be possible.”

Tuesday’s vote also drew praise from other community leaders, including Tahlequah Main Street Association Director Drew Haley, and Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Director David Moore.

Moore said the vote shows the commitment of citizens and business leaders to the city’s future.

“We ask businesses and citizens to invest in Tahlequah every day, and once again, the citizens have stepped up to make that same investment and commitment to the future,” said Moore. “It now falls on the shoulders of the city to carry out voters’ wishes for the projects they have committed to. We look forward to Tahlequah starting these projects in the next few days. I’m very proud of Tahlequah.”

Northeastern State University President Dr. Steve Turner expressed his thanks to voters and called the measure a “new era” for the city.

Jerry Cook, a former mayor and NSU’s director of community and government relations, said the proposal shouldn’t be looked at solely as a tax increase.

“Sometimes these things are labeled as a tax issue, but it’s really an investment in the community,” said Cook. “The real fruits [of the proposal] are going to be seen down the road.”

Nichols said he will soon be contacting the city’s consultants and meeting with city staff to kick off the project. The 3/4-penny sales tax increase will take effect April 1, and Nichols previously said most projects could be finished in less than two years.

For now, he looks forward to getting an oversight committee in place and approved by the city council.

Just more than $10 million will be invested in city streets, including the widening of Muskogee Avenue, from Fourth Street south to the bypass, to five lanes; and projects on North Grand, East and West Fourth Street, Bluff Avenue, East Allen Road, and North Cedar Avenue.

Public safety will receive $1.5 million for police technology, fire department equipment, and emergency management systems and storm sirens. The city’s parks and recreation areas will get more than $4.6 million for the second phase of the Anthis-Brennan sports complex; a swimming pool; Phoenix Park renovations; and greenway development including bike trails, a toddler playground, a dog park, and more.

Just shy of $5 million is earmarked for facility improvements, including renovations of the old National Guard facility on the west edge of town into a new police station; library improvements, including handicapped-accessibility; a community center addition at NSU; traffic and pedestrian safety improvements; and the conversion of solid-waste vehicles to compressed natural gas.

The sales tax increase amounts to 75 cents more for every $100 spent on taxable items in the city. The tax is set to have a 15-year life span, but experts have said the city could pay it off in about 10 years.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Stocks