Arctic air blasting into the state

Oklahoma City proposes tax for roads, public safety

OKLAHOMA CITY — Local leaders want voters to weigh in on whether to extend a 1 percent sales tax and send the money to roads, police and fire.

The City Council pushed forward a proposal to maintain the MAPS tax for an additional 27 months. The tax, which financed projects like the still-to-be-built modern streetcar and downtown park, was due to expire at the end of the year.

Three-quarters of the tax would be allocated to “key capital projects” like streets, sidewalks, trails and public buildings. In all, the city expects the tax to raise $180 million.

The final one-quarter percent of the tax would become permanent, put toward public safety, unfreezing police and fire positions and reactivating sidelined rigs. Oklahoma City leaders expect the tax to bring in $26 million each fiscal year.

Voters would have the ultimate say on the tax in a special bond election Sept. 12.

A public hearing on the tax extension is scheduled at the council’s next meeting June 13.