Claremore Daily Progress

August 7, 2013

County voters to decide 1-Cent Tax

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Early voting for the Rogers County 1-Cent Tax election begins at 8 a.m. on Friday at the Rogers County Election Board on 415 West 1st Street in Claremore.
All registered voters may participate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Monday.
Election Day is Tuesday. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout Rogers County.
Voters will consider the renewal of a 1-Cent sales tax for the construction and maintenance of county roads and bridges. If approved, the tax will be renewed for five years and 1/8 cent of the tax collected will be dedicated to reduce the county’s $32.5 million debt resulting from the Material Services Inc. lawsuit.
The lawsuit’s debt will be reduced by $4,240,374, according to information from the Rogers County Commissioners’ office.
If the 1-Cent sales tax is not renewed, Rogers County will have a decrease in their annual budget by approximately $6 million a year.  The county has an annual budget of approximately $19 million.
A mistake in the publication of the May 14 Special Election prompted the commissioners to call for the new election that costs taxpayers about $50,000 in additional election expenses. The commissioners retained outside legal counsel to assist with the second election increasing the overall cost of the election.
In the past year, two issues surrounding Rogers County elections have surfaced. 
In addition to the May 14 publication error, county officials are reviewing an issue with the June 2012 1/3rd Cent sales tax election. Citizens overwhelmingly approved the tax to pay the $32.5 million dollar judgment involving Material Services Inc. 
However, an error in the ballot concerning the wrong case number has created a question of the validity of the vote.
County officials have not issued a formal statement regarding the errors and any legal issues they could present for the county.
The county has collected about $1.3 million in sales tax to pay the $32.5 million debt financed through the Rogers County Finance Authority.