County Commissioners Put Sales Tax Measures on April Ballot

Jan 29, 2014

Tulsa County commissioners John Smaligo (left), Ron Peters and Karen Keith at the board's vote on two sales tax measures Wednesday. The proposals, which would collect money to improve the juvenile justice center and county jail, will be voted on April 1.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County residents will vote on two sales tax measures in April after county commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday afternoon to put them on the ballot.

One measure is for a 0.041 percent sales tax to collect money for improvements to the Juvenile Justice Courts and Detention Center. The money could be used for acquiring property, construction, remodeling and similar purposes.

The other measure is for a 0.026 percent sales tax to collect money for improvements to the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center. The money could be used for the same purposes, as well as for expanding the jail.

District 2 Commissioner Karen Keith has been working for these proposals since touring the facilities when she first ran for office.

"Everybody who has seen the facility, they don't question whether we need to do something. They get it," Keith said. "So I will be working diligently until the April 1 vote to try to make sure that this passes."

Although the commissioners' vote was unanimous, District 1 Commissioner John Smaligo said he doesn't support the proposals because of a tight county budget.

"We need additional facilities at the jail. We need additional facilities for the juvenile bureau, and so, yes, this is a very unfortunate situation all the way around," Smaligo said. "I wish I could find a different solution, but so far I have not been able to do that."

Before casting his vote, Smaligo said the immediacy of needs at the facilities "forced his hand" into letting the public make the decision.