Voters head to the polls for Coal County special elections

By: Kristen Shanahan
By: Kristen Shanahan

COAL COUNTY, OK -- Oklahoma voters are heading to the polls Tuesday for Coal County's special election.

Residents will vote on a one cent sales tax.

Coal County Commissioner Johnny Ward says each year it brings in about $1 million dollars. Ward says, "it's our lifeline of county government in Coal County."

That money is dispersed among several county entities including the sheriff's office and 8 volunteer fire departments.

Clarita is one of those departments.

Fire Chief Frank Williams says it would be a huge mistake to say no to the tax.

Chief Williams said, "Well I'll put it to you this way, Coal County would be shooting themselves in the foot,"

Chief Williams says without the tax his department alone would lose about $4,000 dollars every year.

Funds that keep the department running.

Williams added, "You know we go out on one fire run and run over a stub, a tire for one of these trucks right here is $300 bucks a piece.
You can take a look at the equipment we've got in the station now. It's all 100 percent taxpayer owned,"

Emergency Manager Aaron Blue says if the tax doesn't pass it'll mean more than just lost funding.

Blue said, "Who it's really going to affect are the citizens and the quality of service they're going to see."

Ward said, "it supplements our ad valorem taxes. It takes a lot of tax burden off property owners, and without it you know it would be devastation."

Voters will also choose between 4 Democrats who are looking to fill the County Commissioner District 1 seat.

Those candidates are Timmy Stinnett, Dale Crow, Wesley Brown and Brock Jones.

The winner will run against Republican Deward Strong in the January election.

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