Claremore Daily Progress

May 8, 2013

Early voting on 1-cent tax begins Friday

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Early voting for the Rogers County Special 1-cent Tax election begins at 8 a.m. Friday at the Rogers County Election Board located at 415 West 1st Street in Claremore.
All registered voters may participate  from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday or May 13.
Election Day is May 14 and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout Rogers County.
Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody recently reported an unusually high number of absentee ballots and voter turnout is anticipated to be greater than normal for a special election.
The issue at hand, the renewal of a one-penny sales tax for the construction and maintenance of county roads and bridges. The Rogers County Commissioners have been receiving the tax for several years and the current tax, if approved,  will run for five years.
Commissioners have spent $8.4 million this fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2012, from the 1-cent account.
If the 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.
The 1-cent account has several sub-accounts including:
•Maintenance and Operations — which provides for operations
•Capital Outlay — provides for fixed assets, and Salaries, to be paid to employees that perform roadwork, according to Oklahoma State Statute.
The 1-cent fund has paid $6.3 million in M&O expenses, $1.5 million in Capital Outlay and $700,000 in salaries.
Each sub-account contains various expenses, however the majority of funds are used for equipment and asphalt or other road surfacing products.
Equipment purchases, at $2.1 million, accounted for 25 percent of total expenses for the fund with approximately $545,000 spent on leased equipment.
This year, the commissioners have spent 54 percent or $4.6 million of total 1-cent expenses to purchase road materials or pay sub-contractors for roadwork.
Another common expense is fuel. The commissioners have spent more than $515,000 on fuel. 
Commissioners provide fuel to several area agencies. A portion of fuel expenses are reimbursed monthly lowering overall fuel expenses. 
The cost of doing daily business goes beyond materials and salaries, each commissioner spends money monthly on tools, parts and other supplies from the 1-cent revenues.