Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 13, 2012

Sales tax hike goes before voters

Tax money would benefit firefighters

STILLWATER, Okla. — Payne County Commissioners approved a 1/16-cent county sales tax to be placed on the ballot during the special election Nov. 6.

Assistant District Attorney Lowell Barto said if the tax is approved, it will raise the sales tax to 8.8125 percent.

If voters approve the tax, it will go into effect April 1, 2013, and will end five years later on March 31, 2018.

After five years, voters will have the option to extend the tax.

According to current projections, Lowell said the tax will provide $610,000 a year for area fire departments.

The tax will provide revenues to be apportioned among fire departments located in Payne County for the purpose of operations, equipment purchases and capital outlays.

In February, Payne County residents voted to extend a 3/8-cent sales tax. Money raised from this tax is divided among different county programs.

Along with road and bridge projects, the Payne County Expo Center, county’s general fund and Payne County Extension office, five percent of that tax is currently split among all fire departments in Payne County.

The 3/8-cent sales tax will last through 2018.

Fires that have roared through Payne County this summer have hit fire departments hard, especially small volunteer departments. In early August, a massive fire burned 2,000 acres and destroyed at least 10 houses northeast of Stillwater.

The commissioners discussed the wildfires that have occurred in Payne County this summer.

Gloria Hesser of District 2 said, “I’m sure all of the fire departments have had damage done to their equipment and need to replace it.”

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