The Edmond Sun

Local News

March 15, 2008

City explores property tax hike

Edmond voters to decide this summer on approval of new ad valorem for police station

EDMOND — Edmond homeowner Cathy McKinney agrees that a new police station is needed in Edmond. However, she would like the funding for the Public Safety Center linked to a temporary sales tax and not a property tax.

“Our property taxes are high enough,” McKinney said.

But Edmond City Manager Larry Stevens believes the time is appropriate for the City of Edmond to consider ad valorem funding for the Public Safety Center.

“We need to make our case to the voters and demonstrate why it’s a good idea. I feel comfortable we can do that,” Stevens said.

The Public Safety Center would house the Edmond Police Department, the Central Communications Department and the Emergency Management Department.

The current police station, at 23 E. First St., was deemed inadequate due to its configuration and limited space after a 2005 needs assessment study. The City Council has agreed on a building close to 90,000 square feet for the proposed $30 million Public Safety Center.

The city’s proposed ad valorem tax will go to a vote of the people on July 29 or Aug. 26.

Stevens said he has been discussing diversifying the city’s revenue stream with the City Council for a couple of years.

“We have an over-reliance of the sales tax,” Stevens said. “And right now, that’s even more acute because our sales tax numbers are not coming in as we projected.”

The city’s sales tax revenues have increased 4.3 percent since a year ago, but the city’s current budget was based on a projected 7 percent increase.

Funding the Public Safety Center with the 3/4-cent permanent sales tax that Edmond voters approved in 2000 has never been discussed with the Capital Projects Financing Task Force, Stevens said. The Capital Projects Financing Task Force is a group of Edmond residents appointed by the Edmond City Council.

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