Council to consider options for half-cent sales tax initiative - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Council to consider options for half-cent sales tax initiative

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LAWTON, Okla._ The city council will soon start talking about options for a half-cent city sales tax which has been funding improvements in the Lawton Public Schools for the past five years.

Voters elected to support LPS back in 2009, but it's scheduled to expire at the end of the year, so it'll be decision time once again.

"Without those funds I can't imagine how we would have gotten some of the projects done," says Dr. Tom Deighan, LPS superintendent. "It has meant the world to the district."

The school district has benefited from getting roughly $5 million a year, but Councilman Keith Jackson says he wants the money will go toward public safety this time around.

The district has released a report which shows they have spent the money primarily on transportation and building improvements. Roughly $1 million a year has gone to upgrading the district's bus fleet, Deighan says, and the other $4 million has gone to projects across the district.

Jackson says directing the funds to public safety in the future will be essential. He believes the funds would be better used for improvements within the Lawton Police Department and to build a new police station.

Rosemary Bellino-Hall recently toured the police station and said LPD officers are forced to work in a "draconian environment", and a new facility is needed. The district, however, says losing $5 million a year would be a big hit to budget.

"Anything we do to jeopardize our funding would risk us possibly going backwards," said Deighan.

It is possible to let the tax simply expire, but if the council decides to support the schools, public safety, or even a version that would help both, voters will have to make the final decision in an election later this year.

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