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December 20, 2013

Sales tax resolution expected for April vote

DUNCAN — Board members of the Duncan Area Economic Development Board are working with the City of Duncan to refine working in a resolution, bringing the 1/2 cent economic development sales tax back to a vote.

The sales tax was first approved by Duncan voters in 1994, and has been approved every five years since. The DAEDF Board requested the Duncan City Council table the resolution until January to address the working of the resolution, with hopes of making an April election for the sales tax.

“There’s a bit of language to clarify,” DAEDF Board Chairman Ben Herrington said. “It would have been a March election at best. April’s not too big of a push.”

Herrington said the board and the City of Duncan are working to use the sales tax to the benefit of both entities. In the Nov. 26 regular meeting, the board proposed splitting the 1/2 cent sales tax, with half going for economic development and half going toward city infrastructure issues, including street improvements and increasing water supply.

When the sales tax was first approved by Duncan voters, the overall funds collected equated to about $1 million for DAEDF to use toward economic development. Since then, Duncan’s robust economy has netting about closer to $2 million annually.

“Our needs haven’t changed,” Herrington said. “We still only need about $1 million. We couldn’t think of a better use for the rest of the money. It seems to make sense. It’s really not a sacrifice.”

By using the funds to enhance the city’s infrastructure, the DAEDF Board of Directors hopes to further improve economic development in Duncan. He said good streets and water supply are essential items to bringing in more businesses.

“From the beginning, we’ve had one goal — To create jobs,” Herrington said. “Street repairs and water improvements will allow us to continue with that mission.”

He said the board hasn’t always had the same definition of “economic development” as the city leadership, but he said the two entities have worked well together to get the resolution this far.

Herrington said there is no doubt the Duncan City Council and the DAEDF Board will figure out the language on the election resolution. He said the big push after that will be to encourage people to vote in favor of the resolution.

“We will need everybody’s support when it comes time to vote,” he said. “We need a healthy city, a healthy infrastructure, and we need to retain jobs.”

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