The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 1, 2013

Letter: Bond issue questions for voters on March 5 ballot

ENID, Okla. — A few things to think about as we head to March 5.

The ballot on March 5 will have a bond issue for the parks in Enid and a .5 percent sales tax increase for the city.

When the sales tax increase was first broached, city officials indicated that Enid’s taxes were low compared to the rest of the state. Recently, another official stated statistics from an outside firm indicating the same.

Checking the Oklahoma Tax Commission records indicates that, out of 500 cities, the present Enid sales tax actually ranks in the upper half of the state.

An increase of .5 percent would put Enid in the top third of taxed cities in the state. As this is a city tax, any county taxes are not relevant.

The bond issue is in support of a park plan proposed by the city commission. Bond issues can be written so the full amount of the bonds must be used for the project.

In this case, the bond issue was written to support only 70 percent of the project, a minimum mandated by state statute.

The other 30 percent may be used as the commission sees fit. The bond issue is for $30 million, indicating that at least $21 million would go for the parks while leaving $9 million free for the commission to utilize as they wish. A downtown hotel project has been mentioned for a price of $14 million, and there may be other projects as well.

Therefore, the question for the voters is whether they are comfortable with giving the commissioners an additional .5 percent.

Sales taxes are spent at the commissioners prerogative.

The other question is whether giving the commissioners an extra $9 million to spend however they choose is in the citizens best interests.

William Hughes

Enid

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