MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 10, 2013

Gore voters to consider sales tax

Continuation of 1 percent tax would pay for new water tank

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Gore voters are being asked to approve continuation of a 1 percent sales tax to fund water system improvements.

Continuation of the sales tax would help the town pay for a new 300,000 gallon water tank as well as expansion of its water treatment system, said Gore Mayor Ryan Callison.

The special election will be Tuesday.

Continuation would not mean an increase in the total 3 percent sales tax rate. The 1 percent tax, which goes toward water infrastructure, expires within 18 to 24 months, Callison said.

Gore Town Administrator Horace Lindley said the town is seeking outside funding assistance for the water projects, totaling about $1.5 million.

“And when we sought the financing, we found we needed a more steady revenue stream,” Lindley said. “When you’re funding a $1.5 million loan, you’re looking at a long-term, 20-year note.

Callison said the current city water tank holds about 125,000 gallons.

“If we have a water line break, we’d be out of water in six to eight hours,” Callison said.

A new tank would provide an additional 24 hours of water, according to an information sheet circulated by a citizen’s group supporting the tax continuation.

The water improvement plan also calls for a third filtration unit at the water treatment plant, Callison said.

Lindley said the water system also needs an emergency backup generator.

“What we are trying to do is practice smart growth, be ahead of our needs,” Callison said. “We’ve been pretty successful in maintaining Gore’s infrastructure.”

However, if the sales tax expires, the town might have to increase water rates by at least $14 a month, Callison said. The current residential water rate is $17 a month for the first 2,000 gallons a residence uses, plus $2.50 per thousand gallons after that.

Gore’s April sales tax receipts totaled just under $36,694, a 15 percent increase from April 2012, which had receipts of $31,678.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.