The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

January 14, 2014

Major County voters OK half cent sales tax

ENID, Okla. — Voters in Major County on Tuesday approved a half cent sales tax to provide money for the Major County Sheriff’s Office.

Also Tuesday, Pond Creek-Hunter Public Schools patrons approved a $1.045 million bond issue for various building needs; Fort Supply Public Schools patrons approved a $2.1 million bond issue; and Hennessey residents approved a 25-year franchise agreement with OG&E.

Major County

The sales tax in Major County is expected to raise $25,000 a month for maintenance, capital spending and operational funds for the sheriff’s office.

The measure passed overwhelmingly, 528-188, or 73.7 percent in favor.

The sheriff’s office currently has an annual budget of about $300,000. But, Sheriff Steve Randolph doesn’t have money to replace donated patrol vehicles and on weekends, he only can spare one person to answer emergency calls and oversee the jail’s inmate population.

With the extra money, Randolph said he plans to give his workers raises and hire a dispatcher and another deputy. The deputy will be a school resource officer spending all of his or her time at each of the three schools in the county.

The Major County Jail was built almost nine decades ago and is considered in need of renovation. Randolph has said he hopes to add another cell or two and renovate the fourth floor of his building, which isn’t being used. Building a new jail is not on the table, but Randolph said any excess money from the sales tax could be used to kickstart one if needed.

Pond Creek-Hunter

The $1.045 million bond issue was approved by a 275-88 vote, or 75.8 percent. School bond issues require a 60 percent supermajority for approval.

The two-year bond initiative will be used for needed maintenance and repairs.

At the high school and elementary buildings, bond proceeds will be used to:

• Install new entrance doors equipped with security locking devices.

• Replace existing single-pane windows with more energy-efficient windows.

• Install a sprinkler system.

• Install a monitored fire alarm system.

• Replace ceiling.

• Update student restrooms and bring them up to ADA code.

• Replace carpet and tile.

• Replace the 1970s HVAC unit in the high school building with new heating and air conditioning units.

School patrons in October defeated a much larger bond issue that included many of the same projects, as well as construction of a new gymnasium, a multi-purpose safe room and improvements for the football field. That bond issue had an $11.5 million price tag and drew opposition from 55.4 percent of the voters who cast ballots.

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