Wagoner County Commissioners Rescind Bell's Sales Tax Election

Tuesday, June 1st 2010, 12:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

WAGONER, OK -- The Wagoner County Commission derailed plans to bring Bells Amusement Park to Wagoner County Tuesday.

In a surprise move, the Wagoner County Commission voted 2 to 1 to rescind a July 27th sales tax vote for a fairgrounds development project near Coweta, which would include Bells Amusement Park.

5/24/2010 Related Story: Wagoner County Voters To Decide Deal On Bell's Amusement Park

Commissioners Chris Edwards and Jim Hargrove want to study the proposal further. 

"I just think what we were asking was too big, too quick," said Chris Edwards, Wagoner County Commissioner.  "And we needed to do a better study of what we were going to ask of the public."

Those commissioners worry the ten-year, quarter cent sales tax wouldn't generate enough money for infrastructure needs for the complex, which would include an expo center, extension office, animal shelter and Bells.

"We needed to back up and stop it and do a better, thorough study of what we were going to be asking and putting on the ballot and if it's a good deal today, it will be a good deal tomorrow I feel," Edwards said.

But for Tom Vincent, the only Commissioner to vote against rescinding the tax election, the latest development is a deal killer.

"It's a workable deal, and it would have been a workable deal and then one person came in and the other two commissioners rolled over," Vincent said.  "That's pretty much what happened."

That one person he's talking about is David Tackett, who created a campaign called No Bells Tax to rally opposition to the proposed tax hike.

 5/26/2010 Related story: Web Site Opposes Bell's Relocation To Wagoner County

He wants Bells in Wagoner County, but doesn't want taxpayers to foot the bill.

"I'm happy that they listened to the people," Tackett said. "And I'm hopeful that they will come back with a plan that makes sense for everybody."

But Vincent says the project would have paid for itself by bringing in 100 jobs and plenty of dollars to Wagoner County's economy.

"Just think of what Bells would have brought to the Coweta area," he said. "It would have put them on the map."

There's still the possibility the tax vote could be brought before voters at a later date. Commissioner Edwards says that may happen with a revised plan to do the fairgrounds projects one at a time, rather than all at once.