, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 9, 2009

Voters approve sales tax issues

Tuesday was an evening of celebration for Muskogee’s city officials.

Several of them were at the Muskogee County Election Board to watch returns come in on three sales tax issues presented to voters.

All three issues passed:

• Proposition 1 (permanent tax for streets) — Yes 1,101, 58.53 percent; No 780, 41.47 percent.

• Proposition 2 (replacement of Coody Creek sewer line) — Yes, 1,250, 66.42 percent; No 632, 33.58 percent.

• Proposition 3 (Capital Investment Projects): Yes 1,004, 53.35 percent; No 878, 46.65 percent.

“I think the work of the council and city staff in getting out there to inform the public — it looks like it’s paying off,” said Mayor John Tyler Hammons as he watched election returns come in. “I appreciate the voters getting out there and reinvesting in the city.”

City Manager Greg Buckley was all smiles when Proposition 3 quit wavering back and forth between passing and failing and finally gained enough votes to assure its passage.

It was the one of the three questions that Buckley was least sure of getting passed, but he never downplayed its importance to Muskogee’s future.

It contained several “quality of life” features, including some that were leveraged by matching funds — other entities will put as much or more money in them as the city of Muskogee.

Councilor Jim Ritchey said he had predicted there would be 2,200 votes cast in the special election.

There were 1,884 of 26,864 eligible voters counted.

While he said he was disappointed in the low voter turnout, Ritchey added, “It is good there wasn’t a lot of opposition coming out against us.”

“I’m so happy right now,” Ritchey said as he saw the positive results flashing on the computer terminal at the election board.

“It’s a huge improvement for the future,” he said.

Councilor Shawn Raper also expressed satisfaction with the results.

“I’m excited on the passage of all three,” Raper said. “Now it’s the council’s responsibility to deliver on our promises and make sure the projects get done as promised and to be good stewards of the money.”

Reach Liz McMahan at 684-2926 or

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