Nearly half of Kay County voters go to the polls; Fire sales tax passes; Tonkawa opposes sales tax increase; Next sales tax election Jan. 10

November 9, 2022 | Featured|Headlines

NEWKIRK — Just under half of Kay County’s 25,519 registered voters went to the polls Tuesday and voted on a county-wide sales tax designed to benefit area fire departments.

The tax passed by a vote count of 6,741 to 5,441.

The measure will increase sales tax rates in Kay County by one-third of a percent and be used exclusively for lawful expenditures. The tax will go into effect on Jan. 1 and end on Dec. 31, 2028.

The tax will benefit all fire departments in Kay County except Ponca City and the 106 Fire District. 

Those two entities decided not to pass a resolution supporting the measure and therefore according to the resolution can not receive any of the funding.

Local sales tax rates will increase to the following  on Jan. 1. Ponca City 9.25 % to 9.583%; Blackwell 10.417% to 10.75%; Braman 9.417% to 9.75%; Kaw City 9.917% to 10.25%; Kildare 5.417% to 5.75%; Newkirk 9.417% to 9.75%, and Tonkawa 9.917% to 10.25%.

The City of Tonkawa passed a resolution in favor of the measure but then on Oct. 27 passed a resolution against the county raising the sales tax rate.

The resolution states that the city council opposes the proposition because the Board of County Commissioner have other means to raise revenue other than sales tax and that Tonkawa residents have been adversely affected by high energy costs, gas prices and inflation.

Tonkawa City Clerk Nancy Skipper said, “It is not that we are not in favor of emergency services, but we are not in favor of the county increasing sales tax. We didn’t want our sales tax to increase.”

Kay County Assistant District Attorney Billie Chrz said the D.A.’s office has not received a copy of the information from Tonkawa as of yet.

“As of right now we have been given a bit of information about it but have not seen anything.” Chrz said she will review the information when it is obtained from Tonkawa.

Fire chiefs who are happy to see that the tax passed includes Kildare Fire Chief Travis Harris who said he is ecstatic.

“We have been working on this for years,” said Harris. “If we didn’t get this passed I’m afraid we would lose some rural fire departments because of the lack of funds. I appreciate and thank everyone who supported the Fire and EMS agencies in Kay County with a yes vote and hope to prove to the others the benefit of this tax.”

Bear Creek Fire Chief Lori Overton said she is very happy.

“This tax passing made me so happy. I told my husband that this was saying that the people of Kay County truly care about us. It gave me more will to keep going and do the best that I can to care for our neighbors and their properties.”

Blackwell Fire Chief Cory Hanebrink said he thanks everyone who voted.

Newkirk Fire Chief Adam Longcrier said he is happy and believes the tax will do wonders for Kay County. “I appreciate the voters of Kay County supporting fire and EMS. I see this as a benefit to Newkirk and the other departments.” Longcrier said that Newkirk received assistance from rural departments on many of their calls. “It is going to be good for all of us and good to see that the rural fire departments will have their equipment upgraded to a higher standard. Equipment failure is a heavy burden on rural departments.”

There are 25,519 registered voters in Kay County which includes 203 Libertarian; 14,894 Republican; 5,756 Democrats, and 4,666 independents. There were 12,182 votes cast on the sales tax measure and a total of 12,543 ballots were cast on Election Day.

Kay County Election Board Secretary Carol Leaming said that the next sales tax election is set for Jan. 10.

The City of Ponca City is asking voters to extend the economic sales tax used for promotional activities from Dec. 31, 2023 to Dec. 31 2028. The tax is one half of once cent. Leaming said the resolution deadline is Nov. 10 for the January election.

See related stories

Kay County Commissioners approve fire sales tax

Ponca City officials oppose proposed sales tax

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