Sales tax vote this Tuesday; 1 project to cost residents either way, city official says
When Mustang voters head to the polls Tuesday, they will have just one item on the ballot.
The city is asking for an extension of an existing 1 cent sales tax to raise $25 million for various projects.
Topping the list is one item, that City Manager Tim Rooney says, is mandatory and must be done if the tax passes or fails.
For all of the projects, which breaks down to 10 percent for public safety and 90 percent for capital improvements, the city official said the city will identify a different funding source or put them off completely if the tax vote flops Tuesday.
The $6 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment plan is mandatory, according to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, and all cities are facing the same situation.
Assistant City Manager Justin Battles said the DEQ is enforcing newly-approved state guidelines for discharge outflow to the Canadian River, but the upgrade will also increase capacity.
Without the tax extension, Rooney said utility customers will be asked to pay for the plant upgrade. Using the same proposed 13-year tax extension timeline, Rooney said this will cost $461,538 per year for the city’s current 7,700 customers, which equates to $60 a year or $5 a month.
Going this route, the city manager said, will put the burden on just utility customers. But, he pointed out the cost could be more widespread through the 1 cent sales tax, because 35 percent of that tax is being paid by non-residents who shop and dine in Mustang.
“This is just for that and only our residents will be paying for the upgrade and not anyone outside,” Rooney said. “A penny for 13 years on every dollar spent, you will get the improvement plus all of the other ones.
“Anytime you can get people outside of your city that’s a good thing.”
Utility customers also can expect to see their utility bill increase when Oklahoma City asks Mustang to pay more for water. Currently, the city averages between 40 to 60 percent of its water coming from Oklahoma City, Battles said. This fluctuates depending on the time of year and can spike even higher when equipment goes down, he added.
Battles said the city has received nothing in writing from Oklahoma City but has received several increase options during two meetings. “Obviously, the more we produce, the better off we will be in the long run,” Battles said.
The city is actively pursuing improvements to reduce the water amount from Oklahoma City. Battles said this includes restoring the lines the city is currently working on and the blending and treatment of water at the Rockwell tower.
To learn more about the city’s Capital Improvements visit their website to view the presentation Battles presented during Tuesday’s council meeting. The link is available below.