Why Are There Two Street Questions On The Ballot?

Wednesday, October 29th 2008, 12:30 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsans have two street plans on the ballot next week.  The question is why two and not one?  And, why isn't the ballot easier to understand?

The ballots are written by lawyers, but they won't be there to help when you're in the voting booth.  So, The News On 6 asked the lady who wrote the ballot to put it in plain language.

The official ballot comes in official language, and according to the city lawyer that wrote it, that's for good reason.

"The language that is in each proposition is our effort to make sure we comply with Oklahoma law so that we wouldn't be subject to challenge," said Tulsa City Attorney Deirdre Dexter.

City Attorney Deidre Dexter says she simplified it as much as she could while keeping it legal.  She says the law also required the ballot be divided.  That's why there are two questions.

"You have to keep the bond and the sales tax separate, that's a requirement of Oklahoma law," said Tulsa City Attorney Deirdre Dexter.  "They pay for different things and there are different requirements for each."

The property tax vote is for neighborhood street repairs and the sales tax vote is for arterial streets.

"In the simplest terms it would be:  Are you willing to have bonds issued over 25 years that would pay for these particular streets, and are you willing to extend the third penny sales tax and the Four to Fix Tax to pay for these particular streets?" said Tulsa City Attorney Deirdre Dexter.

Dexter agrees that language might be easier to understand.

"It would be, but that probably wouldn't survive a legal challenge," said Tulsa City Attorney Deirdre Dexter.