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City of Luther seeks 1-cent sales tax hike

Infrastructure improvements would be funded with the badly needed tax revenue, city leaders said.
BY STEVE GUST Published: January 5, 2013

— City leaders are asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax hike on Tuesday, and are hoping for a better result than last time.

Kim Bourns, a member of the five-member Luther Board of Trustees, said a similar issue was crushed in June when voters went to the polls in the small eastern Oklahoma County town.

“We only had 36 ‘yes' votes,” Bourns said.

Mayor Ed Threatt said a few hundred people voted against it.

“We failed miserably,” Threatt said. “But I am an eternal optimist.”

This time, more effort was put into the education process, including a public forum on Thursday that drew more than 30 people. What officials want is to put an estimated $750,000 into a special fund for municipal projects — mostly infrastructure improvements.

Bourns said about 2,000 people live in the Luther area and probably about half are eligible to vote. If the measure passes, the city sales tax would be at 4 percent — up from the current 3 percent. It would be collected by about a dozen businesses in town and take effect April 1.

The extra 1-cent sales tax is scheduled to last 20 years — although Bourns hopes the money could be raised in less than 10 years with businesses collecting about $80,000 a year.

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