Coal County special election to be held Tuesday

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COAL COUNTY, OK -- Tuesday, Coal County residents will decide whether to implement a permanent one cent sales tax. County officials say several of the county's emergency response services rely on the tax, which provides them with one cent of every dollar spent.

"It's our lifeline of county government in Coal County," Johnny Ward, said.

Coal County Commissioner Johnny Ward says each year the sales tax brings in about $1-million dollars. Money that is dispersed among several county entities including the Sheriff's Office and eight 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.

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

Williams says without the tax his department alone would lose about $4,000 dollars every year. Funds that keep the department running.

"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," Williams said. "You can take a look at the equipment we've got in the station now. It's all 100 percent taxpayer owned."

"If we were to go into another drought in the summer of next year, spring to summer, some of these departments might not be able to make it due to the lack of funds without this tax," Aaron Blue said.

Emergency Manager Aaron Blue says if the tax does not pass it will mean more than just lost funding.

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

Residents will also vote in the democratic primary for the County Commissioner District 1 seat. The candidates are Timmy Stinnett, Dale Crow, Wesley Brown and Brock Jones. The winner will run against republican Deward Strong in the January 14th election.