Stephens County voters approved a countywide 0.15 percent increase in the sales tax, which could generate tens of thousands a year for 12 fire departments and five centers that provide meals for senior citizens.
10,880 people voted yes for the measure, while 5,402 voted against it, according to unofficial returns.
The increase comes at a time when state or federal grant money for the departments and centers has been declining.
Gary Curtis, spokesman for a county task force representing the fire departments, said he was pleased with Tuesday’s outcome.
“All I can say is the community certainly saw the need and we appreciate that so much,” he said.
Curtis has said the tax increase could bring in $35,000 yearly per department although that is a rough “guesstimate.” The senior nutrition centers would get one-13th of the money.
The will go into effect in April and expire after seven years.
“People are going to see better equipment out there as time goes by,” Curtis said. “They will see firefighters on the scene with better equipment.”
The fire departments that will get the money from the increase are Bray, Central High, Comanche, Corum, Doyle, Duncan, Empire, Loco, Marlow, Meridian, Oakridge and Velma. he Duncan Fire Department pays its firefighters and Marlow and Velma are a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters, while the other nine are volunteer only.
The five senior centers that would benefit are in Comanche, north Duncan, south Duncan, Marlow and Velma.
Under the measure, people will pay 15 cents more for every $100 spent, $1.50 for $1,000 spent and $15 more for every $10,000 spent.
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Golden Corral building remains vacant
In November 2012, Duncan’s Golden Corral closed its doors, leaving its building vacant on U.S. Highway 81.
More than a year later, the building still doesn’t have a new business. And it’s not the only building in such a condition. Buildings previously home to Hastings Entertainment and Goodies also remain vacant.
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The Waurika P.I. recently held its annual FFA Opening Ceremonies contest at the First Baptist Church in Marlow. Chapters from Stephens and Jefferson County competed for first place and an opportunity to attend the state contest in Stillwater.
Seventeen teams competed with four coming back for the finals. The Empire FFA ninth grade team came out on top. Team members were Cale Schreiner, Anna Mitchell, Luke Davis, Alexia Newman, Ryley Dumas and Blake Cheatwood.
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The Republican Party’s angst against the colloquially named “Obamacare” is probably due to the millions of dollars they have wasted demeaning it. Whether they like it or not, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) can only be reversed if voters become lazy and allow Republicans to gain control of all three branches of our federal government. What both parties should do is look ahead to when the PPACA is fully implemented. Then, evaluate the final results when affordable healthcare for everyone is completed. A negative critique of a project at its inception is a wasteful effort in futility, politically and financially.
Ruling is in the hand of God
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