The Duncan Banner
Twenty years have passed since the City of Duncan passed a half-cent sales tax to establish a foundation to strengthen the local economy.
Lyle Roggow, president of the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation, and Ben Herrington, DAEDF Board chairman, spoke Thursday on the need to continue the sales tax to keep the economy strong.
Voters will decide on April 1 if the half-penny tax will continue.
“Twenty years ago, unemployment was high,” Roggow said. “That was when a group of people came together. Unemployment was 10 to 11 percent. Now, we’re at 5 percent.”
Roggow and Herrington made their remarks at the monthly breakfast hosted by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Herrington said the half-cent sales tax helps grow the economy, brings new businesses to the area and creates jobs.
The sales tax also improves the community’s quality of life, Herrington said.
In addition, Herrington said the tax supports the foundation’s incubator program, which he said has been critical in helping businesses get established.
Nine businesses are now in the incubator, he said, and many have continued to add jobs as they develop further.
“The Incubator is full,” Roggow said. “Every office we can offer has a business in it.”
If voters approve extending the sales tax, it will be used in a different manner because half its proceeds will fund infrastructure improvements for the City of Duncan.
These improvements include water conservation efforts and street improvements, things DAEDF board members consider fundamental for proper economic growth.
In January, DAEDF has a groundbreaking ceremony for its new spec building, which should be completed in about 20 days, Roggow said.
“We already have someone this week talking about this building,” Roggow said.
DAEDF’s programs and projects hinge on the passing of the sales tax, Roggow and Herrington said.
“Our community is a great place to raise a family,” Roggow said. “It’s a great size community. We want to continue to grow it.”