With the expiring county tax for the construction of the Logan County jail upcoming, the Board of County Commissioners voted 2-1 to call for an election to lower the current one percent county sales tax to three-fourths of one percent.
In a special meeting on Tuesday morning, District 3 Commissioner Monty Piearcy suggested the tax decrease to help redistribute the money. Piearcy and District 1 Commissioner Mark Sharpton voted yes to pass the decision to the voters. District 2 Commissioner Mike Pearson voted against.
The proposed tax decrease will be voted on by registered voters of the county on Aug. 26.
Related story: Residents question “lowering” of county sales tax vote
Currently the county operates under a one percent county sales tax with three-fourths distributed towards the jail and one-fourth spread out equally to the 13 fire departments (1/13) inside the county.
If passed, the three-fourths tax would be divided equally (1/4) to help maintain roads and bridges, jail operations and maintenance and the 13 rural fire departments.
“It’s up to the people. We can lower it by a quarter of a cent and pay the jail off early. I think it’s a win-win deal for everybody,” Piearcy said.
However, District 2 Commissioner Mike Pearson suggested to amend the motion.
“I have reservations. I believe that we should go a little lower,” Pearson said.
Pearson suggested a 3/16 tax for all entities and lower the overall tax to 9/16 (.5625).
“The increase in sales tax revenues is really jumping. I’m looking at the increases and the sales tax income with all the growth and businesses that we have coming in will be more than able to make up that 1/8 sales tax,” Pearson said.
“I have been a proponent that less is more. Not to do away, but less is more. The 3/16 may not be adequate just yet. It would not be an immediate cut to the fire departments. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you would see anything but a little glitch when it comes to your actual income,” Pearson concluded with.
Piearcy suggested he would like to go with the lower tax amount, but has spoken with jail and fire departments officials and they believe they are in need of the one-quarter percent to operate.
“I have always pledged to lower property taxes and I’ll second the motion to lower the sales tax as well to allow it to go to the vote of the people,” Shartpon emphasized.
In March 2005, voters approved a 10-year, three-quarter cent county sales tax to pay for the construction, maintenance and staffing of a $7.1 million, 166-bed jail.
Logan County Fire Departments: Guthrie, Crescent, Cashion, Coyle, Deer Creek, Langston, Marshall, Meridian, Mulhall, Orlando, Oak Cliff, Sooner, Twin Lakes and Woodcrest. Deer Creek does not receive a share of the Logan County sales tax.