Mayes County Commissioner Says Sales Tax Needed For Road Repairs

Friday, November 2nd 2012, 5:09 pm
By: Craig Day

One issue before voters in Mayes County is a sales tax increase for county roads. While some believe taxes are high enough, County Commissioners say the 3/8th of a cent increase is desperately needed.

Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder would like to see the roads improved but says there's not enough money available to do much.

"People want to drive on good roads, and I'm the same way. But right now our budget is so tight, we just absolutely can't build any new roads," he said.

The County already collects 3/8ths of a cent in sales tax for road work on 1,200 miles of county roads, which means $425,000 annually for each district.

But Yoder says it only goes so far.

"An overlay costs about $150,000 a mile, and our total budget is $425,000?" Yoder said.

So voters will decide on an additional 3/8ths of a penny sales tax hike. Increased costs are a big factor.

The challenge for many rural Oklahoma Counties is while those expenses are going up, counties with smaller populations have a harder time generating as much in sales tax revenue than larger counties.

And drought and wintry weather have both taken a toll over the past few years.

"We've patched on it and patched on it and patched on it, it's needs an overlay," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder. "It needs a chip and seal."

Yoder anticipates opposition would come from people in town where city funds help to cover road costs and from people just fed up with taxes.

But he believes it's money well spent.

"All we are able to do is maintain what we've got right now, and just barely maintain," he said.

The increase would mean an extra $3.80 cents per $1,000 spent.