By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Proponents see the “Our Stillwater” proposals as a turning point for the city of Stillwater because investing in the city is vital for growth and economic development.
“These are complex questions and they are complex because the solutions have to be complex. You can’t solve big pictures with a red crayon and a Big Chief tablet. ... If we wait to take action when everyone is in agreement on a specific project, nothing will ever move forward. You’ve elected leaders to make decisions. The City Council voted to put these in front of the people. Your leaders made a decision to put it out to the voters to get the final say,” Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said.
Opponents feel as if the “Our Stillwater” propositions overlook Stillwater’s infrastructure problems and eliminate revenue options.
“We do not observe or believe that our infrastructure problems are being solved. Nor do we think there are adequate plans to solve them. We think there are significant infrastructure problems coming our way. ... The economic speculation of what might come our way in insufficient, in our view, to justify tax increase,” Common Sense First for Stillwater spokesman Hal Ellis said.
Tuesday, Stillwater’s registered voters will cast their ballots to determine if the city will issue $27.5 million in municipal bonds to build youth sports facilities, upgrade Boomer Lake Park and improve public safety, and dedicate 1-percent sales tax for road, bridge and other transportation improvements. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 21 polling places throughout Stillwater.
Proposition 1 is a $20 million, 20-year bond issue to finance construction of a youth sports complex on city-owned land near Sangre and Richmond roads, and build an amphitheater and boardwalk at Boomer Lake Park. Proposition 2 is a $7.5 million, 10-year bond issue to build and equip a fire station on Western Avenue, add 25 patrol vehicles for the Stillwater Police Department and upgrade the city’s emergency communications system.
Those propositions will increase property taxes on a home with an assessed value of $150,000 by approximately $135 a year. The homeowner will be paying $1,769 a year, which is $1 less than the state average. Proposition 3 will raise the city’s sales tax to 9.313 percent with 1 percent permanently dedicated to improve roads, bridges and other transportation-related projects.
More information about the “Our Stillwater” propositions, including fact sheets and artist renderings, is available at the city of Stillwater’s website, www.stillwater.org.