Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center Sales Tax Reduction Election – March 1, 2016
A “yes” vote will reduce the tax by .05 of a cent, from .35 of a cent to .30 of a cent on all purchases made in Canadian County.
A “no” vote will reject Canadian County Commissioners’ proposal to cut the tax.
If approved, the tax cut will mean an average savings per county resident of about 51 cents a month. This figure comes from the county commissioners; it should be noted this is very difficult to estimate because it is determined by an individual’s level of spending and doesn’t specifically address purchases made here by non-county residents.
If the proposal passes, commissioners have estimated it will mean a reduction of between $925,000 to about $1 million in annual revenues to the children’s justice center.
Commissioners say the reduction will not result in any reduction in staff or programs; center officials and proponents say that cannot be guaranteed.
The center provides juvenile detention and sanctions services; an in-house drug and alcohol juvenile treatment facility; an alternative school used by all of the county school districts; drug testing of both juveniles and families involved in juvenile cases (not just criminal matters); oversight over child neglect and abuse cases, as well as adoptions and foster care; social services, including a truancy program aimed at helping keep children in school, bullying and gang prevention projects and more.
Canadian County Commissioners have proposed and promoted the tax cut. While some area newspapers have appeared to report the issue in favor of the cut, I do not know of anyone else who specifically backs it (that doesn’t mean there aren’t officials out there who do). Two of the commissioners (Jack Stewart and Marc Hader) have said in public meetings they’ve had unnamed residents push them to deal with the center’s spending/funding; Commissioner David Anderson said he has not been approached by anyone. This initiative is not the result of any outcry or petition by the public.
Mustang City Councilman Brian Grider, El Reno Public Schools Superintendent Craig McVay, County Treasurer Carolyn Leck, Court Clerk Marie Ramsey, Sheriff Randall Edwards, Undersheriff Chris West and County Clerk Shelley Dickerson have all publicly come out against the reduction proposal.