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
  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014

  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Stocks