It was voted down, but the question of a one cent sales tax is coming back up again.
Last week at the State of the County luncheon, Rogers County's commissioners discussed their constituents' decision not to renew the one cent sales tax.
Commissioner Ron Burrows said severing that revenue stream had very real implications for the county—so they're bringing it back to a vote of the people once again.
"Many of you may know the history of the one cent sales tax, but for those who don't—in 1988, Rogers County passed a one cent county-wide sales tax dedicated to roads and bridges maintenance in our county. That's all it can be spent for," Burrows said. "Every five years it was renewed until June of 2018 when it failed for the very first time. Everyone has their opinion on why it failed. It was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
As of October, Burrows said, "all three county commissioners started operating on one-third of the budget they're used to. Two-third of the budget is gone."
Burrows said the loss of funding has a ripple effect. Road repair projects won't happen, or won't happen as quickly, which impacts every vehicle driving on county roads. This, he said, includes school buses, which have longer life spans due to well-maintained roads.
Additionally, he said the inmate trash program is one that has already been cut.
"I noticed the trash is already starting to build up on roads," he said.
He said it's challenging, but they're attempting to face those challenges as best they can. They've got a plan in place.
"We talked to our district attorney to draft a resolution to bring this back to a vote of the people one more time to see if this is what you want for your county. When you have it in place for three decades, the level of services the county becomes accustomed to, is up here. I assure you, without that we will not be able to meet those expectations in the future," Burrows said. "So, on Feb. 12, we're going to bring that back to a vote of the people probably one time only to see if this is the will of the county. We're optimistic about it's chances. We need that money to sustain our economic growth and everything we're able to provide."
He said a group of individuals have stepped up with plans to campaign for the tax.
The commissioners are statutorily prohibited from dedicating funds to campaigning the issue.
How the county voted in June
On the June ballot, the tax was presented in three propositions. If it had passed, it would have replaced a current one cent sales tax that was approaching expiration.
The Oklahoma Election Board reported:
•Proposition one- 43.53 percent in favor, 56.47 percent opposed.
•Proposition two- 24.80 percent in favor, 7.20 percent opposed.
•Proposition three- 41.66 percent in favor, 58.34 percent opposed.