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Petition signatures validated for parks sales tax proposal, Oklahoma City Council calls March 3 election
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.
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.
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.
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