ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - Altus voters are set to head to the polls this month to decide on two propositions that affect tax rates and quality of life.
In 2008, Altus voters passed the first Make Altus Progressive, or MAPS plan, building things like a new city hall and fire station, as well as funding upgrades at Altus Public Schools. Now, voters will decide on MAPS II.
“Now the projects are what see as more towards the citizens, so we say this MAPS is for you, the citizens. We’re going to redo the reservoir, a lot more activity there, things to do. The sports park, redo the community center, walking and jogging trails, build a new animal shelter. These are projects that citizens have told us they want,” said Altus City Manager Gary Jones.
That is just the start, as half the money would once again go towards Altus Public Schools for upgrades.
“When we did our survey, our faculty, staff and parents wanted safe rooms at the remaining sites that we currently don’t have safe rooms being built. We had a bond passed this past year, the first time in over 60 years, and we had safe rooms built at two of our sites, they’re currently under construction. With the MAPS II, we plan to finish safe rooms at the other sites, as well as renovating restrooms across the district,” said Altus Public Schools Superintendent Roe Worbes.
Safe rooms would be put in at the four remaining schools, with the rooms also serving as classrooms, restrooms, STEM labs and even a wrestling facility. In addition, they’d be making a few other upgrades as well.
“Bus shelters at each one of the sites in the district for kids as they’re waiting on the buses or they get off the buses, and also the Linda Wiginton Aquatic Center. Altus High School has what I think is the best program in Oklahoma, we have the national coach of the year, Mrs. Linda Wiginton. We’re going to use part of that money to renovate the inside of the aquatic center,” Worbes said.
All of that is included in the first proposition, which would reduce the tax rate from the 1.75% it is now to 1.5%. Proposition two, however, would increase the sales tax rate in Altus, with Jones saying it would bring a guaranteed reduction in electric rates.
“It is not a revenue increase for us. What we’re saying is if you pass this yes, we’ve had a rate study done by a company that does our rate studies and they’ve come back and said this is very doable, so we’ve got this built into the plan. If this passes, as soon as it goes into effect, you’ll see a 6% reduction in electric services.”
If this passes, the sales tax rate would increase from 8.875% to 9.25%, which would go into effect next April, when MAPS One officially ends.
Jones said if anyone has any questions or concerns about MAPS II, he encourages you to call city hall or email him and he will answer your questions directly.