City leaders are inviting the community into areas of local government to offer justification for a proposed sales tax increase in the June 26 special election.

City leaders are inviting the community into areas of local government to offer justification for a proposed sales tax increase in the June 26 special election.

In an effort to bring public awareness, the city is hosting several open house events so residents can tour the police department headquarters, Fire Station No. 1 and Fire Station No. 3.

Proposition No. 4 is going before voters in an effort to provide major funding for improvements to these key facilities, and others.

On a video shared on Facebook by the City of Shawnee Oklahoma Municipal Government, Shawnee Police Chief Mason Wilson explained some of the police department's needs.

One example is patrol-related; in his force's fleet he said he has 27 Ford Crown Victorias.

“Ford stopped making those in 2011,” he said. “Our newest one is a 2011 model, so, that tells you how old those vehicles are — they need to be replaced.”

He said he hopes to replace them with Ford SUVs.

“They are readily available and cheaper in price,” he said. “They're more affordable and better bang for your buck, as far as taxpayers go.”

There is room to carry equipment, prisoners, officers, and canines — if it's a canine vehicle, he said.

“They are all-wheel drive, so we don't have any problems getting around in inclement weather in patrolling,” Wilson said.

For the officers to really serve well, it's a top priority to upgrade the equipment and space, he said.

Touring events are being held today through Friday:

• Today, tours are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Fire Station No. 3, at 306 E. MacArthur. • On Thursday, tours will start in the lobby at 4 p.m. at City Hall, at 16 W. 9th St. — and last until 6 p.m.

• On Friday, tours will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. back at City Hall.

Proposition No. 4: Sales tax increase

In April, Shawnee City Commissioners approved an ordinance to impose a 0.5-percent excise tax (sales tax), in addition to all present city, county and state excise taxes, with the proceeds of said tax to be used to fund several capital projects. It will be levied on gross proceeds from all taxable sales.

They have called a special election June 26 to allow the public to vote on the item.

City Manager Justin Erickson shared a Capitol Improvement Project list, should residents vote in favor of the temporary 10-year sales tax.

The proposition has been discussed thoroughly among commissioners and city leaders during two workshops held so far this year.

Erickson said funds would be earmarked specifically for public safety, streets and parks and public facilities and can only be spent on capital improvements.

Three areas are the focus of the added funds: public safety, streets/roads and parks and public facilities.

The increased funds would accomplish many projects that have been on the city's to-do list for awhile, including things like a police department headquarters and patrol vehicles; improvements to Fire Stations No. 1 and 3; a fire engine and training structure; emergency warning system enhancements; as well as improvements to roads; and parks and public facilities.

The plan proposes to split funds three ways: 0.125 percent would be expended for police, fire and emergency management projects (a projected $7,500,000); 0.125 percent would be expended for street and road projects (a projected $7,500,000); and 0.25 percent would be expended for public parks and public facilities projects (a projected $15,000,000). Altogether, the total comes to $30,000,000 over the 10-year period.

Broken down into specific projects, they are:

Public safety (0.125 percent)

• SPD headquarters — $3,200,000

• Fire Stations No. 1 and 3 improvements — $1,750,000

• Police patrol vehicles (25) — $1,250,000

• Fire engine — $750,000

• Fire training structure — $300,000

• Emergency warning system enhancements — $250,000

Streets and roads (0.125 percent)

• Major improvements to 45th Street, from west of Kickapoo to east of Harrison — $3,500,000

• Pavement overlays and panel replacements (implement master plan) — $4,000,000

Parks and public facilities ( 0.25 percent)

• Implement Phase 1 of the Parks Master Plan design — $7,000,000

• EXPO enhancement/remodel — $3,500,000

• Construct sidewalks and trails — $1,750,000

• Library roof and remodel — $1,000,000

• Senior Center roof and remodel — $1,000,000

• Community Center roof and remodel — $350,000

• Santa Fe Depot roof and remodel — $400,000


The tax, if approved by taxpayers, would be levied beginning Oct. 1 this year and would cease to be levied after Sept. 30, 2028.

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