Several Small Elections Held Across State To Decide The More Than $104.6 Million In Possible Funding

Tuesday, October 12th 2021, 5:31 pm

Tuesday is election day for some in Oklahoma. That could bring a major development to Edmond and improvements to schools in Ponca City.

Two big items on the ballot are a temporary sales tax that will decide the fate of land next to Edmond's Hafer Park, and a school improvement bond in Ponca City to the tune of almost $50 million.

"Really just an expansion of what we currently do but also a lot of refresh of what we currently have," said Adam Leaming, Ponca City's operations executive director.

Ponca City is one of more than a dozen cities and towns with big ticket items on the ballot.

The majority of those are school improvement bonds. The amounts add up to over $104.6 million. 

Ponca City Public Schools' school improvement bond totals $49,750,000. If passed, the funds will go towards almost three dozen district projects.

Bathrooms, HVAC systems, new floors and roof repairs are some of the refreshments the school district wants to do. The money will also go towards projects like tennis courts expansion, a baseball stadium, a new indoor multi-use facility and updates to make facilities ADA accessible. The school district also hopes to add about $10 million from CARES Act funds to supplement the improvement bond, but most of the projects will be funded through the bond. The entire plan will take place over seven years. 

"We're going to be able to right now, on my construction schedule we are tentatively planned to have 95% of these projects completed in the next three years," said Leaming.

Over in Edmond, City officials hope voters will help stop construction on a piece of land next to Hafer Park, by a temporary sales tax approval.

"If approved the city will use the funds raised, we think it'll raise about $5mil to purchase that land," said Bill Begley, Edmond's marketing and PR manager. 

The tax, if approved, will only be in effect for 2022 and will be raised to 8.5%. That's up from the current 8.25% sales tax. The increase will begin on New Year's Day and ending on Jan. 1, 2023. 

If denied, the current owner will be free to develop the land.

"There's been a lot of pro and con on this. There's been a lot of yes and no support, so this is a chance for people to express their opinions," said Begley.

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