Two Lawton city council members propose 1-cent tax

Thursday, May 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) _ Two City Council members are proposing a 1-cent sales tax to help balance Lawton's 2003-2004 budget.

Councilmen James Hanna and Glenn Devine proposed the tax to help fund city operations, arguing city voters should be given a voice in how to balance the budget.

Council member Bob Shanklin estimated such a tax would generate $6.7 million. In the preliminary budget, city staff recommended a series of spending cuts and revenue increases to offset a $5.5 million shortfall.

Hanna said the 1-cent sales tax would make everyone who buys anything in Lawton part of the budget solution. Devine agreed, saying the sales tax would give everyone an opportunity to pay toward the budget, not just the city's 30,000 utility customers.

Devine said the city has gotten into the habit of ``automatically reaching out'' for water meters when it needs to balance the budget.

Devine and Hanna said the sales tax would offset increases in utility rates, proposed as part of city staff recommendations.

The board room for Tuesday's meeting was nearly full, mostly with senior citizens and others opposed to plans to close senior centers and youth centers to help balance the budget.