Annexing The Tulsa County Fairgrounds?

Tuesday, November 28th 2006, 9:59 am
By: News On 6

Customers may soon be asked to add 3 cents to every purchase made at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says some Tulsa City Councilors want to annex everything from the Golden Driller to the racetrack.

The fairgrounds are in the city limits, but the county owns all 260 acres. For now, there is no city tax on anything sold at the fairgrounds. At least two city councilors want to change that. Jack Henderson and Roscoe Turner propose annexing the fairgrounds and making it part of the city.

"Taking over an area that's already within your boundaries surrounding it; that just makes sense to me to go ahead and collect sales tax within that area," said Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson.

Annexing the fairgrounds would give the city 3 cents of every dollar spent there, and the council says that's a good thing.

But how much would it cost the city to take care of utilities and police for the fairgrounds? The county takes care of both now. The City Council will spend the next month researching those costs and gathering public input.

"I think that the majority of people are going to want to see it happen because it just makes sense to do it,” Henderson said.

Henderson says Tulsa already pays to maintain the roads in and out of the fairgrounds, and to police those areas as well. But the city isn't reimbursed for any of that.

Opponents say visitors to the fairgrounds go out and spend money at restaurants and hotels generating money for the city that way.

"It just makes sense to try and generate more sales tax for the city of Tulsa. We've been trying to find ways to do that for years and years and years and this is the perfect opportunity that's why we wanted to do it," said Henderson.

We called several county commissioners to get their take on this, but we haven't received a call back.

The city council says this annexation would not affect the county's decisions regarding Bell's amusement park. They did however discuss a resolution to offer support to Bells and its fight to stay at the fairgrounds. They'll vote on that resolution Thursday.