Extension of sales tax on next month's ballot in Claremore

Saturday, April 13th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Claremore Residents will decide in May whether to continue paying a second penny sales tax.

If they keep it, their sales tax stays at 9%. Mark Rounds, Acting City Manager: "For every dollar I spend in Claremore I can look around and see a whole bunch of improvements and I'm glad. I think it's a small price to pay." If they lose it, their sales tax would drop to eight cents on the dollar.

Claremore resident, Mark Harris: "I think they ought to be lowered, Claremore's tax is high enough as it is." Another resident, Joan McCarthy: "Our sales tax is very high in this county, when you tack it onto your groceries it adds up every week."

Residents passed the second penny sales tax four times since 1984. In that time it's paid for sweeping developments and supported the city's police and fire department. Continuing the tax is especially important to Claremore's Fire Chief Bradd Clark, he's now down an engine. "Right now we have one spare, and we have to go to that spare if our other one's down on routine maintenance." He's counting on sales tax money to not only build his station back up, but to plan for the future. "It can do great things for us if we budget and plan correctly, and that's my job."

Both Jenks and Tulsa share a sales tax of 7.9%. Glenpool residents pay a penny per dollar more than Jenks and Tulsa at 8.9%. Like Claremore residents, those living in Rogers County, near Owasso pay a 9% sales tax. Broken Arrow's Wagoner County residents pay the highest tax in the area, 9.85%.

Claremore's Mayor Jim Cochrin, says the tax follows the people. "Obviously this is one the fastest growing communities in Oklahoma and it's allowed us to maintain that growth factor." Growth both he and his community are counting on. The vote in Claremore is May 14th.