ADA sales tax goes to a vote

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ARDMORE, OK - The Ardmore Development Authority will get another chance at passing its quarter-cent sales tax thanks to a 3-0 vote by three of the five Ardmore City Commissioners Monday night.

The tax has passed three times before, but in the last election in November, residents voted it down.

The tax hasn't expired yet, but the ADA said they need to renew it, so it can keep doing its job.

But residents are divided on the issue.

"Everyone's saying to shop locally and shop in Ardmore but with that high of a sales tax they're going to force people to go elsewhere," said Ardmore resident Eric Taylor.

"Our town needs to grow and by growing there are so many things that can happen and benefit from that," said Kristin Thomas, who also lives in Ardmore.

Right now Ardmore's sales tax is 9 percent, and would stay at that rate if the tax passed because the vote is for a renewal. If it didn't pass, sales tax would go down to 8.75%.

Mayor Sheryl Ellis hopes it does because she said a separate organization like the ADA needs to handle economic development by providing incentives for businesses to bring jobs to Ardmore.

"Because the city's budget cannot take that on as well and still provide all the services and projects that we now cover," said Ellis.

ADA CEO Brian Carter said about half the money they receive from the tax goes toward fire and rescue services at the Ardmore Air Park.

That's $600,000 of the $1.2 million they receive, which is why he thinks it's worth it to ask the voters a second time.

"It would be irresponsible to not clarify for the voter, 'here's what the stakes are,'" said Carter.

And former ADA Board member Scott Andrews said cutting off those funds could mean missed opportunities to bring business to Ardmore.

"Without the sales tax passing we can't have those incentives to offer which means we can't compete," Andrews said.

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