On Tuesday, February 11, there is an important vote that will renew the critical one cent (1%) City sales tax for the building, maintenance, repair of capital improvements, operation and maintenance of the police and fire departments, and the building, repair, operation and maintenance of city parks and recreational facilities.
The Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce, representing 375 members, believes the continuation of this penny is vital for the quality of life in Claremore and for Claremore to continue to grow. We understand the importance of investing in fundamental services and infrastructure gives our businesses, both large and small, an advantage over other communities. Without the continuation of this penny, our quality of life will be impacted.
First and foremost, this is not a new tax, therefore, this is not a tax increase. In fact, this tax has been in place since 1978 and is projected to raise about $4 million each year.
40% of the money raised from this penny is to be used for building, repair or maintaining of capital improvements. This would be things like new equipment, computers, and property for all City departments. Annually, each department is allowed to submit capital improvement requests as part of their budgeting process.
20% of the penny is to be used for the operation/maintenance of the police department. Without these funds, the police department may have to reduce the number of officers. With fewer officers, Claremore may experience higher crime rate and slower emergency response time. These funds may also be used to purchase safety equipment and protective gear, which will make it safer for the officers and the citizens.
20% of this penny is to be used for the operation/maintenance of the fire department. Without these funds the Fire Department will also have to reduce staff. With fewer firefighters, the effectiveness of the Fire Department will be impacted. First responders protect all citizens of Claremore. Why would we limit their ability to protect us over a penny?
Finally, 20% of the penny is to be used for the building, repair, operation and/or maintaining of parks and recreational facilities of the City. Without the continuation of these funds, the Parks Department would probably cease to exist. The share of this penny to the Parks Department funds everything except salaries. This penny supports many quality-of-life initiatives like dog parks, splash pads, playground equipment, shelters, restrooms, and the lake trails at Claremore Lake.
Claremore is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. The quality of life we have is unequalled. Renewal of the same penny that’s been serving us well and in a positive way for over forty years seems to be the best investment we should continue to make for ourselves, our businesses, and our visitors.
On behalf of our 375 chamber members, the board of directors of the Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce supports the one percent (1%) sales tax for the City of Claremore in the upcoming election on Tuesday, February 11 and encourages you to vote YES.
Steven R. Burrus
Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce