Even with 2022 and its avalanche of elections still many months away, a small percentage of Oklahomans went to the polls Tuesday to decide issues that have a direct impact on their communities.
Those issues ranged from street maintenance to a series of sales tax and bond proposals that would fund emergency operations and jails in those counties.
Of the 17 county and local measures up for a vote in the July 13 election, five failed. Three of the failed measures would have increased taxes. The others were a bond issue to finance a new jail and a measure to change how the city clerk and treasurer in Luther is selected.
Below is a look at some of the highlights of Tuesday’s election results.
Blaine County’s courthouse and jail will be getting a makeover after residents approved a 1/2 cent sales tax, with 80.7 percent voting yes and 19.3 percent opposed out of 414 votes cast.
Elsewhere in Blaine County, Okeene residents said yes to a 1/4 cent sales tax that would be used to improve the community’s roads. The proposal passed by a 69.2 to 30.8 percent margin.
Citizens of the town of Sawyer rejected a measure that would increase the excise tax from 1 percent to 3 percent and declare an emergency. Of the 36 voters who cast ballots, 24, or 66.7 percent, voted against the proposition.
Grant County voters approved a 1 cent county sales tax by a 93.5 percent to 6.5 percent margin. The tax will be used to fund 12 public service agencies in the county, including the Grant County Sheriffs Office, Grant County Emergency Services and eight municipal fire departments serving communities in the county.
This tax, which is set for 10 years, had originally expired earlier this year, but, owing to an error in the county clerk’s office, the election was delayed until summer.
Two propositions that would have provided funds by way of an ad valorem tax to form an emergency medical district to serve Lincoln County failed Tuesday by a 63.7 to 36.3 percent margin.
Voters were even more unenthusiastic about bonds that would be used to pay for a new jail. A proposal that would have provided $13.5 million for construction of a new jail was voted down by a 78.3 to 21.7 percent margin, with more than 2,400 votes cast.
Locust Grove voters overwhelmingly approved a proposal that would levy an additional 1/2 cent sales tax to be used to improve water and wastewater systems in the town. The measure passed with 92.1 percent of votes in favor, though only 76 votes were cast.
Residents of Warner said “no thanks” to a 3/4 cent sales tax that would have been used for city expenses. The proposition failed 58.6 to 41.4 percent.
Residents in Jones approved a 1 cent sales tax that will be used to fund capital expenditures for the town. The measure passed by a 62.6 to 37.4 percent margin, with 246 votes cast.
In Luther, the office of city clerk and treasurer will not be appointed after residents rejected a proposition Tuesday by a 52.1 to 47.9 percent margin, with just 48 votes cast.