Sales tax meeting held in Bryan Co.

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

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.

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  • by County Citizen Location: County on Mar 18, 2008 at 08:57 PM
    To I'm Serious from Texas: I believe the trailers you were referring to were purchased by the City of Durant, not by the county. The problem with most of the FEMA travel trailers is Formaldahyde, not asbestos.
  • by I'm Serious Location: Texas on Mar 18, 2008 at 03:02 PM
    I know! Bryan County can raise money by selling the FEMA trailers they recently unveiled! (I saw it on the news) They have asbestos in them you know, (saw that on the news too) so there's no need to keep those things around at the Bryan County Good Ole "Bubba" Boy deer lease.
  • by Me again Location: Calera on Mar 17, 2008 at 09:12 AM
    We have already tried to pass a hotel tax and the hotel owners threw a fit. The hotel owners happen to be good friends with two of the county commissioners so I doubt that will happen. Good idea though. I just think everyone complaining about the taxes then saying they are going to drive to Texas to buy things is ridiculous. If the county people don't like the your own stores!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Hillbilly Location: Not Durant on Mar 15, 2008 at 01:45 PM
    To Me in Calera and Stacy in Durant: You say the success rate of Durant schools is much higher than the county schools. The graduates of Durant are better educated than the ones from the county schools. So if Durant has such better schools and wealthier folks, why don't the smarter, better employed folks of Durant pay for their own schools? Why pilfer from the less educated countians that can only work at Wal-mart? (sarcasm) To all those folks that say kick out the county kids: Go ahead, just remember with less students you might have to cut back on a few teaching positions, administrative positions and may even drop down a class size or two. I would like to see Durant get a new high school, but with the fact everyone is still paying for the sports complex and all that goes with it. I believe that $41 million is just too much too ask. Oklahoma just does not have the money Texas does. Durant is not McKinney or Frisco, obviously. Maybe a hotel tax? Would that be possible?
  • by County Commissioners Against Kids Location: The Dark Side on Mar 14, 2008 at 06:25 PM
    Mr. Kelly has repeated that he ran his election to oppose any new taxes to justify his position to turn his back on more than 1/2 of the school kids in Bryan County. Yet when Calera recently passed a new 1/4 cent sales tax for a traffic light he and the other commissioners were no where to be seen. Amazing? Commissioners have no problem with the sales tax for a traffic light but raised h... when the city council of Durant choose to give their citizens a choice to provide better opportunities for their children. Traffic lights vs Kids Future?I'm confident Kelly & Montgomery will be remembered for condoning taxes for traffic lights but turning their backs on Kids. Commissioners, I'm certain that The Dark Side is proud of your efforts. At least everyone knows what you value.
  • by Me Location: Calera on Mar 14, 2008 at 08:07 AM
    It sounds like a lot of people are just jealous of Durant residents and the kids that go to school there. Durant is not a bad town, nor does it have a bad school system. I am sure the success rate at Durant is much higher than any other Bryan County school. If the county residents don't want to pay a copy extra cents in Durant, then build your own stores in the county or quit complaining. You can't get mad at Durant for wanting to better the community and have a better school for the kids.
  • by Stacey Location: Durant on Mar 14, 2008 at 07:58 AM
    To County Land Owner: Actually, I grew up in another state and never attended Durant Schools. I have no ties to the Durant School System. However, I do know how to properly spell and punctuate sentences. I feel that if you are going to get on this forum to complain about education, you should at least be able to make sense. "Citizen" did not make any sense. Also, I personally know many people that have graduated from Durant, as well as Bryan County schools. The majority of the Durant graduates have all moved on, getting a wonderful COLLEGE education and having a successful career. While the majority of the county school graduates are happy to be working at Wal-Mart. I just call it like I see it. That is all. Have a good day!
  • by Resident Location: Durant on Mar 14, 2008 at 06:58 AM
    James, if you know anything about the Bryan County School Districts, the biggest issue it the fact that all of the new construction and larger homes reside in the Silo school district and 80% of those children go to Durant. The valuation of homes in "old Durant" consist of $20,000 homes on the south side and homes of under $100,000 on the north side. Almost all homes of $250,000 and over reside north west of the city. As a registered Repubilcan, I am normally against any and all tax increases, but this one I will gladly vote for. County Land Owner, I know there is quality education in the county schools, but I would love to compare how well county school kids react in college compared to Durant ISD. There is no way those kids can be nearly as prepared. I attended Colbert and Durant and I can tell you that had I graduated from Colbert I would not have been nearly as prepared for life after school. There are great teachers in the county but better opportunities in Durant.
  • by County Citizen Location: County on Mar 13, 2008 at 08:17 PM
    Our County Assessor is not the problem. He has tried to keep a balance between the needs of the counties' schools (including Durant), vo-tech and county government and the ability of landowners to pay their Ad Valorem taxes. He has no control over certain entities that are "excused" from paying this tax for a number of years. Durant ISD Ad Valorem assessment is lower because of this. Maybe someone should look at some of the results of this "economic development". The classification of all the transfer students from the Silo ISD as county students may be a stretch of the meaning. How many of these students ever attended Silo? Many have moved into the Silo ISD from Durant ISD then transferred. Others have moved in from "a distance" and built/moved into the Silo ISD after being told that "open" transfers were the norm. Unfortunately, this transfer situation is not going to go away. Durant's City and School district population is not growing at near the rate of the county or Silo ISD.
  • by American Location: Durant America on Mar 13, 2008 at 06:38 PM
    ATT: TEACHER STACEY Yes, a new school is a great deal>> for the land owner who sold the property. 1.4 MILLION dollars for land would purchase alot of land south of town. With all of you SOUTHEASY edumacation. Is there any 80 acres in that area worth 17,500.00/acre. Certainly the board members. Wake up for our kids sake especially if you are a teacher. VOTE NO NO AGAINST THE LOCATION OF THE CURRENT SCHOOL LOCATION. I love my kids, But hate corruption.
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