Voters Approve Plan To Improve Sand Springs Police, Fire Buildings
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - Sand Springs voters said yes to a change in the city's sales tax. A chunk of that tax money will go toward improving police and fire facilities - voters approved it by a landslide.
Of the voters, 81 percent said yes to renew the current sales tax. The only thing that's changing is where that money will go.
It will now fund a new building for police, fire and dispatchers so they can finally move out of a century-old building.
Inside the Sand Springs police station, dispatchers are cramped in a tight space, officers are forced to eat lunch where they file paperwork, and there’s even some mold growing on the evidence.
“I think my property officer said it was marijuana mold from the drugs that were kept down there,” they said.
There's hardly even room to keep reports, but officers shouldn't have to deal with those problems for much longer.
Sand Springs Police Chief, Mike Carter, said, "It confirms what we knew, the public has a lot of confidence in public safety in Sand Springs, a lot of support."
Carter breathed a sigh of relief when more than 800 voters agreed to allot a chunk of their sales tax to better facilities for the police and fire departments; and, what's more, it’s not a tax increase.
Kasey St. John with the City of Sand Springs, said, "Nobody will be paying more taxes, this is exactly what we're used to today."
The current Vision 2025 sales tax is 8.917 percent - that's what people are paying right now – and because voters approved the new plan, they'll actually pay a tiny bit less in sales tax starting in 2017.
A portion of that tax, a tenth of a percent, will go toward economic development in the city.
"New retail, new restaurants, new employers here in the community,” St. John said. “So this is going to allow us to provide some infrastructure for those businesses to come here."
The rest will pay for the badly needed new police and fire building and updating a few current fire stations. Carter said it couldn't have come sooner.
"I tell people, when I was young, my mom taught me the difference between a want and a need, and this was, this was definitely a need," he said.
Some of the money will also go toward installing tornado shelters in some city buildings and putting new cameras and new crosswalks at some Sand Springs schools.