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Tax vote set Aug. 26

City Council members unanimously moved forward with a plan for a new Capital Improvements Program, formally voting Tuesday to call an election on the 11-year, seven-eighths percent sales tax for Aug. 26.

The council also held its annual public hearing on the city budget, but only one resident spoke on the expenditures and revenues expected for the budget that goes into effect July 1. Council members will consider further discussion and, potentially, vote for approval for that new budget during a special meeting set for June 18.

The vote on the new CIP put a formal end to a series of meetings that council members have held publicly and privately to settle on a list of projects that would be funded with the $100.9 million that city officials expect the seventh-eighths percent sales tax to generate over its 11-year life, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Council action Tuesday was important because the city has until close of business today to submit its ballot proposition to the Comanche County Election Board, for inclusion on the Aug. 26 ballot (which also is the runoff election date for state and federal races).

Council members offered no comments Tuesday on either the ordinance that sets the details of the sales tax  including the projects to be funded  or the ballot proposition that will be submitted to city voters. Voters will be asked to extend an existing half-percent sales tax now allocated to Lawton Public Schools, which will expire Dec. 31, and a three-eighths percent tax now allocated to the 2008 CIP, which will expire June 30, 2015. The two expiring taxes would be combined into one seven-eighths percent tax (the last six months of the 2008 CIP tax would be suspended) to provide funding without raising the existing total sales tax in Lawton, city officials say.

The Lawton Constitution

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