Collinsville Residents To Vote On Sales Tax Increase

Friday, April 3rd 2009, 4:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

COLLINSVILLE, OK -- Voters in Collinsville will decide the fate of a sales tax increase next week.

The proposal would raise money for parks, streets, downtown development and a new jail.

The sales tax increase is a 3/4 cent hike for 20 years, and a 10-year extension of a current one penny sales tax Collinsville shoppers are already paying.

"The majority of the projects, the citizens get to utilize and this is what this is all about," Mayor Stan Sallee said.

The proposal would generate $3.3 million, about a third of which would go for improvements at the city park -- a new splash pad, skate park, playground areas, basketball court and bathroom facilities.

"It's just a place for our kids to go and do some good wholesome fun, not get in trouble," said Cory Slagle, principle of Collinsville High School.

A half-million dollars would be used for street resurfacing, and another half-million for a new jail.

The tax increase would also generate funds to match with downtown enhancement grant money.

"We have passed some bond issues in the last 10 years that have affected water lines and electrical infrastructure type projects, but for many, many years, quality of life projects have not been addressed here in our community and we think it is time," Sallee said.

The sales tax measure would raise Collinsville's tax rate from 8.5 cents per dollar to 9.25 cents.  Opponents might argue that with the poor economy, now may not be a good time to ask for any tax increase.

But community leaders say the city just doesn't have enough tax base to pay for improvements with current tax collections.

"What we get out if it, I think will be tenfold of what we're going to pay for it, and it's needed," Slagle said.

The measure also includes a $25 annual rebate for people older than 65 to help offset the increased tax burden.

Voters will decide the proposal a week Tuesday.