Bell Family Looking For Answers After Wagoner Co. Commission Rescinds Sales Tax Election

Tuesday, June 1st 2010, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

WAGONER, OK – Tuesday's vote by the Wagoner County Commission to rescind the Bell's sales tax election came as a surprise to the Bell family. They said they're unaware of what changed to make the commissioners change their minds.

6/1/2010 Related Story: Wagoner County Commissioners Rescind Bell's Sales Tax Election

Robby Bell has had the rug pulled out from underneath him before and said his family is still working through other options, while trying to figure out what happened with what they thought was a deal in Wagoner County.

"I don't have an explanation as to why they changed their mind; I have none." Robby Bell, Bell Enterprises, said.

Robby Bell says he had no idea the commissioners would back out of their commitment, so soon after they asked the Bell family for theirs.

"You know we were invited to their party, we didn't invite them to ours. And they wanted a commitment from our family before they voted on the resolution, and so that's why we signed a lease with them," Bell said.

"And I understand that they're going to ask the taxpayers to pay for all that infrastructure, they want to make sure they can do the animal shelter, Bell's and the Expo cCnter, so we committed to them, and something has changed.

In the years since Bell's was kicked off the Tulsa fairgrounds, Robby Bell says he's been amazed by the interest in the amusement park reopening.

He thought Wagoner County would be good place and was planning a multi-million dollar investment with at least three new rides for the new Bell's.

He thought he had a deal with the county that would let voters decide if they wanted to pay a tax that would build a fairgrounds, where Bell's could build.

Emory Bryan, The News On 6: "I thought you had a contract."

Robby Bell, Bell's Amusement Park: "We do. I have some questions for them and yeah, I've got to find out what's going on, but yeah, we have a contract."

The contract with the commissioners, according to Bell, was contingent on a positive vote from taxpayers. And despite the questions about it being corporate welfare, Bell said the tax would not have built anything except infrastructure, like streets, and utilities, to get to the new park.