Broken Arrow, Bixby Mayors Hope Voters Approve Vision Tax Renewal
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - Voters in Broken Arrow and Bixby head to the polls Tuesday. Both cities have sales tax questions on the ballot and want to renew their Vision sales tax before it expires next year.
It’s about a half cent sales tax for both communities - the one originally passed for Vision projects - now being repurposed for long-term needs.
In Broken Arrow, public projects - like the work in the Rose District - have helped draw new people and businesses, so now there's a need for more police and fire services and better streets.
Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond said, "I think we learned if you don't take care of your infrastructure that you have to spend a lot of money in the future to bring it up to standards. That's something, and a lot of this is going to be road repair in neighborhoods."
Part of Broken Arrow's vision tax would be turned into a $3 million a year street repair fund. The rest of it would pay for 20 new police officers and 20 firefighters.
"With the 20 new firefighters, we intend to open a new fire station. The citizens have already approved bond money to buy land for a new station, this will allow us have operational money to put firefighters in that new station," said Chief Jeremy Moore with Broken Arrow Fire.
In Bixby, the city plans to convert one existing sales tax into a permanent fund for parks and use their vision tax to build new recreation sites along the Arkansas River.
Mayor John Easton said, "We need access to the river and that formula has worked everywhere. It will bring development and economic resources to our city."
Bixby also plans to carve out part of the vision tax for a permanent public safety fund, so they can train and equip 11 more people.
"And we want to be able to provide the service our citizens deserve, and, in doing that, we need more officers on the streets, more firefighters available to respond, and we need people in our communication center to answer those calls," said Chief Ike Shirley with Bixby Police.
For both cities, if the sales tax extension passes, the current tax rate would stay the same. There would be a small increase on the Wagoner County side of Broken Arrow.