Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

September 20, 2012

LETTER - Commissioners need to take initiative and retool road fund

CLAREMORE — Dear Editor:

It is so disheartening to read the positive stories about Tulsa County Commissioners and then have to stomach the actions of a couple of our current Rogers County Commissioners and several of the past ones. 
Tulsa County is working on a 0.6 percent Vision2 sales tax extension with improvements for its airport, cities, and an allocated sum to help with incentives to companies considering locating in the area. This is all within the scope of the City of Tulsa’s 8.517 percent sales tax (Owasso’s sales tax is 8.35 percent).
So, what are we doing in Rogers County? We are increasing our sales tax in Claremore to 9.33 percent, the highest in the area, in order to pay for a judgment created by the incompetence of past commissioners and district attorney’s office. This will cause undo harm to our retail stores in Claremore with the big retail outlets in Owasso less than 20-miles away and sales tax almost 1 percent lower.
Commissioner Mike Helm even wants to bypass Claremore with a new Highway 20 alignment to make it easier on his Owasso constituents.
Our current commissioners could have bitten the bullet and absorbed this judgement within their exorbitant road fund budget. But then how would they be able to buy expensive vehicles, equipment and an alleged unnecessary $900,000 piece of equipment that nobody knows how to use? Now, we learn that they are going to use reserves to balance the budget because they have added additional departments? Enough is enough.
Our road fund (1 cent sales tax) which now amounts to almost $8 million annually, was originally approved by Rogers County voters in the early 1980s. 
It was an initiative proposed first by the Rogers County Homebuilders Association and some local banks in order to improve county roads. We were not able to obtain FHA financing on lots in our rural subdivisions with gravel roads. 

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