Tax talk gets underway
In a work session Monday, councilmembers reviewed a presentation the city will soon share with the community about the upcoming election asking for an extension of a one-cent sales tax to 2020.
City Manager Tim Rooney said the city is slated to pay off the current one-cent tax early June 2017 and at the council’s direction, the city has come up with a list of projects that could be funded if voters approve the tax extension in an Aug. 23 election.
Officials project an estimated $25 million could be brought in if the tax continues. The tax was originally approved by voters in 1996 for five years but in 1999, the tax was extended for 28 more years.
Councilmembers recently decided to keep the tax going through the original set date, which was July 31, 2020. They then asked city leaders to come up with a list of possible projects.
The focus for funding from the proposed tax extension has been narrowed down to four areas: public safety, streets, infrastructure and quality of life, Rooney said in the meeting. For public safety, the proposed tax extension would pay for a new emergency operations center, fire sub-station, software upgrades and dispatch system, and new police and fire vehicles and equipment.
The widening of Sara Road and S.W. 89th Street would be addressed if the tax was extended and the city’s waste water treatment plant will get a boost.
Lastly, new recreational facilities would be added with an all-inclusive playground and splash pad in Wildhorse Park. An expansion of Town Center, a renovation of the city’s animal shelter, soccer field lighting and a market place are also included.
Rooney told the council he planned on sharing the presentation for the first time to the public at the July 28 chamber luncheon, but Mayor Jay Adams said he asked why wait.
“I think the sooner we get this out to the public and on our website the better,” the mayor said. “I think a lot of people were questioning what the money would go toward if this was approved and now we can clearly show them that.”
Rooney said he planned on speaking to civic organizations throughout the city on the tax extension.
The mayor previously stressed that the 1-cent tax is not a new tax. “This is just a continuation of a tax we are paying off early. It’s the same old penny and can run the original length.”
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