DURANT, Okla. -- A potential sales tax for the city of Durant is causing a stir in Bryan County. Commissioners weighed in on the issue on Wednesday.
Bryan County commissioners say they have taken several phone calls from folks who live outside Durant’s city limits who do not want to pay a higher sales tax in Durant. So on Wednesday, everyone got the chance to make their opinions heard.
School officials, Durant city and Bryan County residents filled the room for Wednesday’s meeting. Durant administrators say they need a new high school and plan to have an election for a sales tax increase to pay for it.
But some residents who live in the county say they cannot vote in the election, will not use the school, and say if there's an increase, they do not want to shop in Durant.
Commissioners say they support a new school, but have pledged to their constituents not to increase taxes.
"We’ve had numerous new industries come in. One of the first things new industries look at when they come into a community is the school system. Everyone in Bryan County has benefited from the growth of Durant," says Bryan County resident Nathan Williams, who lives outside the city limits.
"They’re not opposing a new school; they just feel like since ad valorem taxes in their districts have to support their schools. That's the same thing that should happen in the city of Durant," Bryan County commissioner Ivan Kelly says.
An ad valorem tax is a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property.
The purpose of the meeting was for commissioners to decide if they wanted to take action on the issue. After some legal discussion, and the fact they have no authority over a city election, they voted not to act on it.
Superintendent Terry James tells us the district plans to continue with a new school, and he thinks it's beneficial for Durant and the entire county.