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Henryetta voters will be going to the polls in June to decide if they want to extend a once-cent sales tax.
The tax has been in existence for the past 20 years and was extended last in a 2014 vote. Funds from the penny are split with a half of it going to the general fund and the rest divided to Henryetta Economic Development Authority and the restricted city fund used to make note payments.
That call for a vote was made at a special city council meeting Friday at noon.
Nathan Ellis, a member of the Oklahoma Public Finance Law group, said the June vote is necessary to keep the flow of revenue consistent. “If we waited until August, the tax would fall off for three months he said.
“We need it,” said council member Jennifer Munholland.
After the meeting, city manager David Bullard said the money is necessary to keep city services operating as they are now.
Also during the meeting, council members heard of a plan to build a new water tower just off Warren Road west of town. It would replace a defunct tower that has serviced residents on the hill but is now inoperative.
To fund the project the city would borrow $4,750,000 from the Oklahoma Water Resources board. That money would be added to an existing loan from the state. It is expected to be paid off in four years.
Bill Myers, the head of the engineering firm that would be in charge of the project urged the council to start the project now. “The cost of goods is going up,” He said. “We need to lock it in now rather than wait.”
Councillor Munholland pointed out the rebuilt water tower east of town cost $1 per gallon when it was constructed. Current estimates are four times that amount. The current plans call for a 750,000 gallon tower but city officials are going to be looking at the bids with an eye for a one million-gallon storage tower.
The project would not be without an additional cost to local residents.
Ellis told the council there would be an increase in existing note payments. He said that increase would be covered by an additional $3.76 per month charge on each water bill for the next four years. “The payment would fall off in 2028,” he said.
When finished, the new tower would provide better service to residents both on the hill as well as better water pressure to the west side of town.
“If there is a new housing addition on the hill, there would be water for them,” mayor Michael Dickey said.
Myers said he would want to start construction before the end of the 2024 calendar year and would take about 12 months to complete.