During the July 1 Tahlequah City Council meeting, continuation of a half-cent city sales tax was discussed, but no action was taken.

If it stays on the books, there would be no tax increase; the rate would remain at status quo.

"The public input was good; it included several specific requests for information related to the 2013 bond projects," said Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron.

The 2013 bond project had an interest expense of $7,490,205 and a principal of $24,455,000.

Ward 4 Councilor Trae Ratliff said there are seven projects remaining from the 2013 bond issue, and $4.7 million left in the coffers.

"The .75 percent sales tax for the 2013 bond is set to fall off in a few years. [That would be] dropping it down to 8.75 percent or 8.25 percent, depending on how you vote on Sept. 11. Currently the city is 3.25 percent, county 1.75 percent, and state 4.5 percent. Clearly there is no room in our operating budget for new projects," said Ratliff.

As sales tax revenue increases, funds for projects will increase as well. The defined purpose of revenues is to make capital improvements provided for street, alleys, sidewalks, bridges and roadways.

If the half-cent sale tax is approved, current road and sidewalk repair and improvement will have $1.5 million set aside in a dedicated account.

Ratliff said with the 2009 bond issue ending in September, sales tax is set to change from 9.5 percent to 9 percent.

"We as a council will be proposing to keep this .5 percent in place, earmarked for streets, sidewalks and infrastructure," said Ratliff. "That allows the city to use approximately $1.5 million per year to hire professional contractors for new projects and completion of old ones, and not rely on our street department for new construction."

What's next

A special city council meeting is set for Tuesday, July 9 at 1 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers to discuss continuation of the tax initiative.

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