Muskogee County Voters To Decide Fate Of Half-Cent Sales Tax

Monday, June 12th 2017, 8:13 pm
By: News On 6

A special election will be held in Muskogee County where voters will decide whether to renew a half-cent sales tax.

County leaders say the tax extension is needed to keep deputies working and roads maintained.

Every 10 years the vote to renew the tax comes up. It can get a bit confusing as to what the money pays for. 

In part it'll help make improvements to ragged county roads. Thousands of miles of county roads need repaving.

The Muskogee County Sheriff's office tries to stay ahead by making sure officers and emergency personnel have what they need to do their jobs efficiently.

County Commissioner Ken Doke said that's not a tax increase. To make road repairs and to give the sheriff's office what it needs every 10 years voters are asked to approve a half-cent tax in a special election.

"We try not to make it a permanent tax because someday we may not need these funds and we can let it expire," Doke said. "But right now we have significant amount of road work that needs to be done. The sheriff's office needs vehicles and equipment."

If the tax is approved, it'll generate 3-million dollars of the 6-million the county needs annually to function.
People who live in Muskogee County can early vote on the measure.

But if you ask resident Maxine Drew, it's not an election many people know about.

She didn't know about it, but says it's something the county needs.

Especially when it comes to maintaining county roads. Particularly the high grass at intersections.

"Could they keep it cut so people can see what's coming," Drew said.

Doke said understanding what it pays for can get a bit confusing.

The half-cent tax is only for the county. It pays for nothing in the city of Muskogee.

Before the tax was implemented decades ago, it was common to see just a few deputies patrolling the entire county.

Without the tax, law enforcement would take a blow, and county roads would fall into dis-repair.

"We would certainly miss it and people would feel it."

The election is Tuesday.