Why is the City of Coweta redoing the One for Coweta election?

During the process of implementation of the One For Coweta Sales tax approved by Coweta voters 72% to 28% in September 2021, City of Coweta staff discovered a technical error. Oklahoma state statutes, specifically Title 11, Section 16-101, require that a Resolution Calling for the Election for any municipal election be published in a "newspaper of general circulation in the municipality" at least 10 days before the election date. While we did print and mail a voter information flyer to every Coweta utility customer, hold public meetings, and promote links to voter information online, we did not publish the Resolution Calling for the Election in the Wagoner County American-Tribune.

The City Council was made aware of the error this week and directed city staff to pursue the re-submittal of the election for the proposed sales tax increase and to stop the implementation of the sales tax until that time. Local businesses will be informed via the Oklahoma Tax Commission about the changes directly.

On December 6, 2021, the City Council approved a new ordinance for the proposed tax and a resolution calling for the election on on February 8th, 2022.

We sincerely apologize for the error, and we are taking all necessary steps including asking the City Attorney and our Bond Counsel to help ensure we meet all requirements and publications moving forward.

Why does the City of Coweta need to renovate the existing Public Safety facility?
The current police station was built in 1940; the current fire station was added on in 1985 and suffers from severe water leaks, making it a safety risk to the dozens of men and women who work and, in the case of firefighters, live there. The current buildings do not have room for any additional officers or firefighters, nor is there any room for training or additional technology or equipment.

Why does the City of Coweta need a new fire station?
As the City grows, we need to have fire and police stations in other parts of the community to better serve our citizens in the event of an emergency. If approved, One for Coweta would create a funding source to build a new, modern Public Safety facility in northern Coweta.

What road projects will be funded through the sales tax?
The proposed road projects include:
  • 111th St. S. from Hwy. 51 to 278th E. Ave. – additional lane, shoulders and drainage improvement
  • 273rd E. Ave. from 111th St. S., north to city limits – road widening, drainage improvements, potential additional lane
  • 273rd E. Ave. from 121st St. S. to 151st St. S. – road widening, drainage improvements, resurface roadway
  • 121st St. S. (W) from 266th E. Ave. to Hwy. 51 – road widening, drainage improvements, resurface roadway
  • 121st St. S. (E) from Hwy. 51 to 281st E. Ave. – road widening, drainage improvements, replace bridge, resurface roadway
  • 141st St. S. at Hwy. 51 – realign Hwy. 51 intersection
  • 141st St. S. to 305th E. Ave. – road widening, drainage improvements, replace box culverts, resurface roadway
  • 305th E. Ave. from Hwy. 51 to 136th St. S. – road widening, drainage improvements, resurface roadways

Will increasing our current sales tax by 1 penny really have an impact?
An increase in 1¢ would raise approximately $1.3 million per year.

What drainage improvement projects will be funded through the sales tax?
The proposed drainage improvement projects include:
  • Citywide, Master Drainage Study – identify areas and methods for improvements to storm water drainage and retention
  • Downtown Coweta – drainage improvements, underground pipe and ditch improvements
  • Hwy. 51 (E) – extend sewer improvements from 305th E. Ave. to Muskogee Turnpike

Why does the City need to perform a Master Drainage Study?
A Master Drainage Study is meant to evaluate and address current and future drainage needs within a community. Doing such a study is the only way to ensure fixing one drainage issue in Coweta doesn’t create another someplace else.
These studies are performed by engineering firms with hydrology experience, and the City will likely use an RFQ process to determine the best firm to do the study. The exact price would be set through that process, but is likely to be in the six figure range.

What city park projects will be funded through the sales tax?
The proposed park projects include:
  • Coweta Sports Park – fix drainage, additional lighting and safety improvements, pave parking lots
  • Parks – locate additional public park north of 131st St. S.

What public safety projects will be funded through the sales tax?
The proposed public safety projects include:
  • Public Safety Facility – new public safety facility, including Police/Fire operations and administration
  • Fire Station #2 – second fire station to serve growing area of the city

When will the new tax rate go into effect if passed by the voters on Sept. 14th?
The sales tax rate would change to the new rate and begin being collected on purchases within the city limits of Coweta on Jan. 1, 2023

How long will this tax, if passed by the voters, last?
The tax is permanent unless repealed by the voters.

Which Coweta Parks would be improved by this tax?
This tax would be used to create a new park along with making improvements to the Coweta Sports Park. Updates to Roland Park are scheduled for this fiscal year (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022) under the current fiscal year budget and are separate from the One For Coweta initiative.

What kinds of roads will you build and with what types of drainage?
Each road project, including drainage, will undergo an engineering design that will determine the best type of road materials and the proper drainage solution for that roadway.

When would the projects begin if the tax passes? What will you do first?
The City Council will prioritize projects based on factors like filling the greatest need and improving connectivity across the overall transportation network. Once prioritized, those projects requiring engineering design will go through that process and then the construction put out for public bid. The City Council may choose to utilize revenue bond financing for some projects that would be guaranteed by a portion of the approved tax while other projects would be funded on a pay as you go basis. If the tax is approved, project planning and prioritization would begin as soon as possible, even though the tax would not become effective until January 1, 2023.

Why does the One for Coweta ballot language reference debt, and what debt is it referring to?
As we discussed in our first public meeting, to accelerate the projects that the City has identified as critical (the new fire station, overhauled public safety facility, road and park projects), the City may – at the Council’s direction – choose to issue bonds (debt) to accomplish those projects. That debt would then be backed by the revenues from the sales tax. The sales tax cannot be used to back debt for purposes other than those on the ballot.
Without that language on the ballot, the city could not use those funds to back debt to accomplish the projects. At a projected revenue of $1.3 million per year, we would need 5-6 years of revenue collection before we could begin the full reconstruction of the public safety facility if we were to pay for that project without debt, and no other projects would be accomplished in that time, either.

Where will the new fire station be built?
It will be built on city-owned property near 116th Street and Highway 51 and sited to serve a fast-growing area of the community, relieving pressure from the downtown/southern station and improving response times city-wide.

Will 141st Street S. be improved?
The road will be widened and shoulders will be added, along with drainage improvements along the roadway.

What will be the total cost of these projects?
Current estimates for the proposed project list show a cost of approximately $31 million.

What is the time frame for the new neighborhoods in the northern portion of the City to be completely built out?
Homes are underway in one neighborhood and will be soon in the other two major developments. We anticipate that approximately 1600 homes will exist within 10 years on what is now mostly vacant land.

Why can’t we use current road project money to do this work or rearrange the existing budget to do it?
Coweta will spend about half a million dollars in fiscal year 2021-2022 on existing road projects outside of the proposed new tax. Given the challenges shown on the current Road Conditions Report the City commissioned and has received, we will not be able to do enough work, fast enough, to avoid significant road failures without a sustainable, dedicated revenue source for major road work.

When will we see the benefits of this tax if it passes?
Engineering and design will come first, because none of the projects on this list are small / simple ones. We would anticipate that engineering would begin in 2023, after the tax begins to be collected in January of 2023. Engineering would be followed by the public bid/RFP process. The first ground broken for projects would come, best case, in early 2023.

Are these projects specifically listed on the ballot?
No, the project types are listed on the ballot. The sales tax would create a dedicated, restricted funding source for only those types of projects. Each specific project would be allocated to this funding (if it fits the type of restrictions placed on these funds by voters through the ballot language) by the City Council.

Vote on February 8th, 2022

If you are new to Coweta or recently moved, the voter registration deadline is January 14, 2022.

Find out where to vote »