Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 24, 2008

Officials detail proposed school bond issue, sales tax

According to school and city officials, both proposals are a continuation of similar plans set to expire soon.

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS — Tahlequah Public Schools Superintendent Shannon Goodsell announced plans to present a city sales tax/school bond issue to voters in the spring of next year.

Goodsell cited myriad needs, including new buses, and cafeteria improvements at both Tahlequah High School and Greenwood Elementary school, as the reason for the proposal.

In light of the announcement, the Daily Press posted a poll on its Web site asking readers asking if they would support a both a bond issue and a city sales tax, just a bond, just a tax, or neither.

Of 155 respondents, the majority – 40 percent – indicated they would favor both a sales tax and a bond issue, followed by 36.13 percent who were opposed to both. Sixteen percent said they would oppose a city sales tax, but would support a bond issue, and 4.5 percent said they would support a tax, but not a bond issue.

According to Goodsell, the proposed city sales tax would not increase residents’ taxes, but would merely continue a half-penny sales tax that’s due to expire soon, likewise the bond.

The proposed tax would cap out at $8 million, and would be split between the city and the schools, 60 percent to 40 percent.

“In other words, the bond issue would provide $5,235,000, and the schools would receive $3.2 million of the tax revenue, for a total of $8.4 million,” said Goodsell. “The city would garner $4.8 million from the tax.”

Ward 1 City Councilor Jason Nichols confirmed Goodsell’s explanation.

“The city sales tax would remain at its current level,” said Nichols. “And it’s incredibly important for people to know the city relies heavily on tax revenues for improvements.”

Nichols said the city was mulling making the tax permanent, and after the school had received its allotted $3.2 million, 100 percent would then go to the city for infrastructure improvements, including expanding and improving roads and parks, and downtown beautification.”

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