Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Muskogee Election: Yes on Prop 1, No on Prop 2


Voters in Muskogee will be going to the polls today to vote on two propositions that would extend a half-penny sales tax for the next six years. The previous six-year sales tax was focused on meeting mandatory sewage system upgrades as ordered by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Proposition 1 is a 0.33% sales tax extension that would be dedicated to residential street maintenance and rehabilitation. These funds will be augmented by matching dollars from the City of Muskogee Foundation, bringing the annual street funding from the current $2M per year to approximately $6M per year.

I will be voting for Proposition 1.

Proposition 2 is a 0.17% sales tax extension that would be used for a wide gamut of recreational, beautification, public safety and economic development purposes.

The City is seeking to upgrade and maintain facilities like the River Country Water Park, Muskgoee Swim & Fitness, and the Love-Hatbox Complex & Hangars, plus other city-owned buildings, expand the city trails system, expand parking at the MLK Community Center, enhance the Roxy Theater. The smorgasbord of uses for this tax also includes money for the police and fire departments, as well as the 911 Center. It also would include funding "economic development" opportunities through the Port of Muskogee and the Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport.

I will be voting against Proposition 2. I feel that some of the projects listed should be handled by seeking community sponsorships (i.e. the Roxy Theater, even some of the parks projects), or utilizing existing infrastructure (Arrowhead Mall's largely empty parking lies across from the MLK Community Center). Prop 1 is important to fixing crumbling residential streets in Muskogee. Prop 2 is a shotgun blast of wish-list projects, but not vital needs.

For some other perspectives, the NAACP of Muskogee is calling on voters to reject both propositions, while Muskogee city councilor Marlon Coleman urges voters to pass both of them.

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