Tulsa Residents Petitioning Against Fairground Annexation

Tuesday, March 27th 2007, 10:45 am

By: News On 6

Some midtown Tulsa residents are speaking out against the city's plan to annex the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. They say the fairgrounds are doing well the way they are. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports a Tulsa City councilor is voicing his concerns with the annexation plan as well.

If you've ever bought something at the Tulsa County fairgrounds, you didn't pay a city sales tax on it. The Tulsa City Council has been making a push to change that. Some of the councilors want to annex the fairgrounds and charge sales tax on transactions there. They say it would boost city revenue by $389,000 to more than $1 million a year, but county commissioners have argued that the current, lower sales tax is what draws people and events there. Many of those who live around the fairgrounds agree.

"I think that a lot of people come to the shows that are held in the IPE building and at the fairgrounds in order to save tax. I think that has been an incentive to bring people to those shows," said midtown resident Liz Garrison.

"Here we got a situation where the fairgrounds is a powerful economic engine, and the worst thing you can do to it is slap a tax on it," said resident Dan Hicks.

These residents have started a petition drive to try and stop the annexation. They say they've received 80% of the signatures they've asked for. They care because a change will likely affect them.

"If the fairgrounds were to start going downhill and lose some of the success that they've enjoyed over the past few years then that's going to impact me as a homeowner," Garrison said.

Their voices have not gone unnoticed. City Councilor Bill Christiansen now says he'll vote against it.

"And I believe from what I’ve heard over that past 60 days that the majority of the citizens of Tulsa want to leave it like it is you know, if it ain’t broke don't fix it," said Christiansen.

So far Christiansen appears to be alone in his vote. Other Tulsa city councilors remain undecided or for the annexation.

Citizens are invited to a public hearing on the issue at the Tulsa City Council Meeting on April 5th.

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