View Full Version : OKC March 3rd election for permanent 1/8 cent dedicated sales tax for parks



ChowRunner
12-17-2019, 02:46 PM
The Oklahoma City Council called a March 3 election for voters to consider a permanent 1/8-cent sales tax for parks, as required by a validated initiative petition filed at City Hall.

A resident filed Initiative Petition No. 42 with the City Clerk on Sept. 6, proposing an election for a limited-purpose 1/8-cent sales tax for Oklahoma City parks. The resident filed 7,977 signatures in support of the petition on Dec. 2.

The City Clerk and Municipal Counselor verified the number of legally sufficient signatures from Oklahoma City voters surpassed the 6,499 needed to trigger an election. The City published a public notice in The Journal Record on Dec. 4, and the deadline to challenge the petition was Dec. 16.

March 3 is the next available election date on the State of Oklahoma’s 2020 election calendar.

Get details at okc.gov/parksvote.

About the proposed tax
The proposed 1/8-cent parks sales tax, if approved, would be similar to the ¾-cent sales tax dedicated to public safety (primarily the Police and Fire departments), and the 1/8-cent sales tax dedicated to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Voters approved those permanent taxes in 1989 and 1990 after initiative petitions in 1989.

The rest of the permanent Oklahoma City sales tax goes to the General Fund for day-to-day operations, which is also mostly public safety services. There’s also a temporary penny sales tax that will fund Better Streets, Safer City projects until March 31, and then MAPS 4 for eight years starting April 1.

The City Council would oversee spending of revenue from the proposed parks sales tax. The proposal would require the funds to be spent only on parks operated by the City, not City-owned parks operated by non-governmental foundations like Scissortail Park or Myriad Botanical Gardens. The proposal also requires the funds to support maintenance, improvements, programming and other parks operations expenses.

The Finance Department estimates the tax would raise about $15 million annually. It would take effect July 1.

Including state sales tax, the new overall sales tax rate in most of Oklahoma City would be 8.75 percent. It would be an increase of 8 cents in sales tax on a $100 purchase.

Learn more about sales tax in Oklahoma City at okc.gov/tax.

Election and voting information
There will be only one item on the City ballot. Voters will choose yes or no on a permanent 1/8-cent sales tax for parks. The Oklahoma presidential primary election on the same day is on a separate ballot.

The deadline is Feb. 7 to register to vote or update your registration for the March 3 election.

Oklahoma City voters registered at their current address are already eligible to vote. If you aren’t sure that you live in Oklahoma City, visit okc.gov/citylimits to check.

Visit the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website at ok.gov/elections to download a voter registration form. Use the voter portal at ok.gov/elections/ovp to check or update your registration.

Voter registration forms are also available at your local county election board, post offices, tag agencies, libraries and other public locations.

Voters who have disabilities can find more information about voter assistance in Oklahoma at ok.gov/elections.

State law requires proof of identity to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are a voter ID card, driver’s license or another form of ID issued by the federal government, state government or federally recognized tribal government. Voters may also cast a provisional ballot by proving their identity with a signed, sworn affidavit, which is available at the polling station.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the election is 5 p.m. Feb. 26. Apply for an absentee ballot or download an absentee ballot request form at ok.gov/elections.

Overseas voters, including military members, can get more information about overseas absentee voting at ok.gov/elections.

Early voting for the election is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 27-28 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 29 at your local county election board:

Oklahoma County Election Board, 4201 N Lincoln Blvd., (405) 713-1515
Cleveland County Election Board, 641 E Robinson Street (Suite 200) in Norman, (405) 366-0210
Canadian County Election Board, 200 S Bickford Ave. in El Reno, (405) 422-2422
Pottawatomie County Election Board, 14101 Acme Road in Shawnee, (405) 273-8376.
Regular voting is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 3 at your usual polling location, which you can find using the voter portal at ok.gov/elections/ovp or on your voter ID card.

Pete
12-17-2019, 02:54 PM
This was the initiative started by Ed Shadid.

shawnw
12-17-2019, 03:17 PM
Only 6,499 signatures needed.

https://www.okc.gov/departments/initiative-petition

jerrywall
12-17-2019, 03:20 PM
Hrm, I think this will be an uphill battle.

Laramie
12-17-2019, 04:03 PM
Hrm, I think this will be an uphill battle.

Definitely an uphill battle in light of the recent passage of MAPS 4's allocation of $140 million designated for all OKC area parks.

pw405
12-17-2019, 07:28 PM
Doh, didn't see this thread. You can erase my post @Pete.

shawnw
12-18-2019, 09:27 AM
Definitely an uphill battle in light of the recent passage of MAPS 4's allocation of $140 million designated for all OKC area parks.

Did you see Steve's unscientific but interesting Twitter poll that showed a 60/40 split for the tax with 200+ voting?

king183
12-18-2019, 11:38 AM
This election will be on the same day at the Democratic Presidential Primary and the vote to legalize Sunday liquor store sales in OK County. It will likely pass.

LakeEffect
12-18-2019, 11:43 AM
Did you see Steve's unscientific but interesting Twitter poll that showed a 60/40 split for the tax with 200+ voting?

Did you see my poll? I've only had 60 some votes, but I asked if people would rather support transit or parks first, and transit is ahead at nearly 75%...

Pete
12-18-2019, 12:21 PM
Residents of OK County will also be voting on the right for liquor stores to be open on Sunday:

https://kfor.com/2019/12/18/oklahoma-county-voters-to-decide-on-sunday-liquor-store-sales-following-commissioners-vote/


So, lots of interesting issues vs. the last MAPS-only ballot.

shawnw
12-18-2019, 12:35 PM
Did you see my poll? I've only had 60 some votes, but I asked if people would rather support transit or parks first, and transit is ahead at nearly 75%...

YES! I voted on it. And I agree if it were between the two I would vote transit. However only parks is on this ballot. I'm fully in favor of another IP with transit on it though.

Plutonic Panda
12-18-2019, 12:59 PM
Transit should have at least an entire penny sales tax dedicated towards the issue.

shawnw
12-18-2019, 01:36 PM
RTA probably will need that, but for just OKC, 1/8 gets us on the path to wellness.

soonerguru
12-30-2019, 05:41 PM
I will be voting against the 1/8 cent for Parks unless I'm presented with compelling information otherwise. The city literally just passed millions for parks, four new parks are being built, and every single park is getting improvements. Also, MAPS 4 includes an endowment for parks maintenance.

I would rather not raise taxes for something voters have already agreed to support. If we are going to ask for additional money, why not hold out for the RTA vote? If we keep adding incremental pennies the will of the voter to support the regional transit initiative will be tested.

shawnw
12-30-2019, 08:00 PM
I agree about the RTA vote. Really needed to be next.

However we're always bitching about no maintenance with MAPS and here we go a prime opportunity for maintenance.

soonerguru
12-30-2019, 08:36 PM
I agree about the RTA vote. Really needed to be next.

However we're always bitching about no maintenance with MAPS and here we go a prime opportunity for maintenance.

Well we would be dumb to bitch about maintenance now because MAPS 4 includes an endowment for maintenance. So, not a good argument to support this.

shawnw
12-30-2019, 09:09 PM
The endowment will take years to be useful

soonerguru
12-31-2019, 12:03 AM
The endowment will take years to be useful

So? What difference does that make if it addresses the core concern? The fact is the voters just approved tens of millions of dollars for parks in OKC. This is duplicative at best, a waste of taxpayer resources with no clear plan, and will undermine attempts to expand our mass transit system.

Again, there is an endowment for maintenance -- also approved by voters in MAPS 4 -- in addition to the millions already approved for park improvements, not to mention the construction of four new parks.

Plutonic Panda
12-31-2019, 05:49 AM
The more money for parks the better. Instead of getting mad about sales being strained, why not divert your energy to changing the way cities can collect revenue to pay for such things?

soonerguru
12-31-2019, 11:09 PM
The more money for parks the better. Instead of getting mad about sales being strained, why not divert your energy to changing the way cities can collect revenue to pay for such things?

Huh?

There is a likelihood the city would just put less money from the general fund into parks if this passes. Plus it will make it harder to pass the RTA. People have been working on the RTA for nearly two decades now. It is imperative to pass it to move this city to the next level.

Completely thoughtless initiatives like this will ensure voters reject the RTA. So, no.

Regarding your unsolicited advice as to how I use my energy, I'm sorry, I do not have the stroke to change the minds of the buffoons in the legislature. It's much easier to influence my friends and neighbors on an ill-thought-through tax initiative.

Plutonic Panda
12-31-2019, 11:58 PM
^^^ my point is Oklahoma should stop restricting cities on they can fund basic services.

mugofbeer
01-01-2020, 10:42 AM
^^^ my point is Oklahoma should stop restricting cities on they can fund basic services.

But then those crooked politicians would just line their pockets (or so the thinking goes).

Plutonic Panda
01-01-2020, 11:31 AM
But then those crooked politicians would just line their pockets (or so the thinking goes).
Yeah... but then we’re just in this cycle where we want nice things but to get proper funding it gets overly competitive pitting basic service/amenities against each other for funding. :/

mugofbeer
01-01-2020, 12:08 PM
Yeah... but then we’re just in this cycle where we want nice things but to get proper funding it gets overly competitive pitting basic service/amenities against each other for funding. :/

I completed agree with you. I've lived in several places all over the country and have come to realize there is a proper level of funding for city operations which is definitely higher than OKC. Denver is just about in that sweet spot but has a completely different demographic than OKC - far more urbanized and compact than OKC.

Plutonic Panda
01-01-2020, 12:27 PM
I’ve been exploring Denver a lot lately and it is an amazing city!

mugofbeer
01-04-2020, 12:58 AM
Even in Denver, there are some ideas they've come up with that l just can't agree with. The city is about to the point where they have funding sufficient enough that they are starting to propose some projects l can't support (which doesn't matter because l don't live in Denver proper). To me, when a governmental unit has all the money they need, they start looking to frivelous things to spend on.

SEMIweather
01-04-2020, 08:28 AM
Even in Denver, there are some ideas they've come up with that l just can't agree with. The city is about to the point where they have funding sufficient enough that they are starting to propose some projects l can't support (which doesn't matter because l don't live in Denver proper). To me, when a governmental unit has all the money they need, they start looking to frivelous things to spend on.

What are your thoughts (if any) on Denver's struggle to retain their mass transit operators and the forthcoming service cuts that will likely result?

Nick
01-04-2020, 09:45 AM
Even in Denver, there are some ideas they've come up with that l just can't agree with. The city is about to the point where they have funding sufficient enough that they are starting to propose some projects l can't support (which doesn't matter because l don't live in Denver proper). To me, when a governmental unit has all the money they need, they start looking to frivelous things to spend on.
Do you mind sharing some of what they’ve come up with that you disagree with?

OkieDave
01-23-2020, 01:46 PM
Wow! Great article this week in the Oklahoma Gazette with OKC Parks Director Doug Kupper and former City Councilman Pete White explaining how this initiative is different from/complementary to the MAPS/ GO Bond programs and how transformational a Yes Vote for OKC Parks on March 3rd would be for the City's 165 parks.

https://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/park-support/Content?oid=6926996

Laramie
02-03-2020, 12:25 AM
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Last day to register to vote in Oklahoma's presidential primary is Friday
Oklahomans wanting to cast a ballot in the March 3 presidential primary must register to vote on or before Friday, February 7.

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Midtowner
02-03-2020, 10:30 PM
Why wouldn't the city government simply reduce the parks and recreation budget by the amount this tax brings in and reallocate it elsewhere? You know that police and fire unions are going to have their hands out.

Pete
02-04-2020, 06:43 AM
Why wouldn't the city government simply reduce the parks and recreation budget by the amount this tax brings in and reallocate it elsewhere? You know that police and fire unions are going to have their hands out.

You say the same thing about most the MAPS programs and GOLT bonds.

Midtowner
02-04-2020, 01:25 PM
You say the same thing about most the MAPS programs and GOLT bonds.

Police and fire unions actively campaigned against MAPS I through III. I don't think the GOLT bonds would have made any sense for the unions to go after as the GOLT money was supposed to create 11,000 new jobs, which seems in the long term best interests of the unions.

I think we're in a different place right now with parks and rec getting a $500K budget cut and having parks considered for closure. If this is an area the council sees as needing cuts, why would they not glom up the parks and rec budget coming from the general fund when they'll have money coming from a dedicated sales tax?

Pete
02-04-2020, 02:00 PM
^

Because citizens would be outraged and it would threaten other votes for GOLT and MAPS.

The way they had to work around the language of MAPS the city council doesn't have to spend any of the hundreds of millions on the specific projects identified.

OkieDave
02-04-2020, 04:45 PM
Why wouldn't the city government simply reduce the parks and recreation budget by the amount this tax brings in and reallocate it elsewhere? You know that police and fire unions are going to have their hands out.



While no initiative petition could dictate the behavior of future city councils in terms of budgetary allocations of the general fund, the ordinance presented to the voters on March 3rd does anticipate this issue (particularly since Parks is generally the first department to be cut in any economic downturn) and attempts to mitigate such a reallocation by prohibiting the funds to be utilized for mowing grass in OKC parks. Mowing grass is the largest line item in the Parks budget (roughly $15 million/year) and the amount is almost exactly equivalent to the amount which would be generated on an annual basis by a 1/8-cent dedicated fund for Parks operations, maintenance and programming. In addition, the petition prohibits the funds from being utilized in parks operated by Non-governmental organizations (in order to maximize transparency of the utilization of public tax dollars) as well as almost all capital expenditures (which was the purview of MAPS/GO BOND programs); these two additional restrictions combined with the restriction on mowing grass would make it virtually impossible to simply reduce the parks/rec budget by the same amount and reallocate it elsewhere. Hope this helps.

TheTravellers
02-04-2020, 05:10 PM
While no initiative petition could dictate the behavior of future city councils in terms of budgetary allocations of the general fund, the ordinance presented to the voters on March 3rd does anticipate this issue (particularly since Parks is generally the first department to be cut in any economic downturn) and attempts to mitigate such a reallocation by prohibiting the funds to be utilized for mowing grass in OKC parks. Mowing grass is the largest line item in the Parks budget (roughly $15 million/year) and the amount is almost exactly equivalent to the amount which would be generated on an annual basis by a 1/8-cent dedicated fund for Parks operations, maintenance and programming. In addition, the petition prohibits the funds from being utilized in parks operated by Non-governmental organizations (in order to maximize transparency of the utilization of public tax dollars) as well as almost all capital expenditures (which was the purview of MAPS/GO BOND programs); these two additional restrictions combined with the restriction on mowing grass would make it virtually impossible to simply reduce the parks/rec budget by the same amount and reallocate it elsewhere. Hope this helps.

Thank you for this info, was going to email my councilperson to ask Midtowner's question and now I don't have to. :)

Laramie
02-05-2020, 09:18 AM
While no initiative petition could dictate the behavior of future city councils in terms of budgetary allocations of the general fund, the ordinance presented to the voters on March 3rd does anticipate this issue (particularly since Parks is generally the first department to be cut in any economic downturn) and attempts to mitigate such a reallocation by prohibiting the funds to be utilized for mowing grass in OKC parks. Mowing grass is the largest line item in the Parks budget (roughly $15 million/year) and the amount is almost exactly equivalent to the amount which would be generated on an annual basis by a 1/8-cent dedicated fund for Parks operations, maintenance and programming. In addition, the petition prohibits the funds from being utilized in parks operated by Non-governmental organizations (in order to maximize transparency of the utilization of public tax dollars) as well as almost all capital expenditures (which was the purview of MAPS/GO BOND programs); these two additional restrictions combined with the restriction on mowing grass would make it virtually impossible to simply reduce the parks/rec budget by the same amount and reallocate it elsewhere. Hope this helps.

Thanks, SoonerDave