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City proposes sales tax to address infrastructure needs

By Everett Brazil, III

The Newkirk Herald Journal

NEWKIRK — There are many infrastructure needs facing the Newkirk community, ranging from water and sewage to electrical and streets issues. The city is seeking to address those many problems in the long term and is placing a proposed 1 percent sales tax on the ballot to cover funding for those projects.

The city commission passed the proposal during their Jan. 24 meeting, approving the language to be placed on the ballot, as well as setting the date for April 5 Special Election. The election will also include seats for the city commission and Newkirk Public Schools Board of Education.

The proposal will address numerous infrastructure projects for many years.

“There are a number of projects, things buildings need,” said City Manager Ryan Smykil. “We are trying to take care of these needs that have been here for a long time.”

There are several specific issues the city is looking at, selected through an independent capitol needs assessment, conducted by the Northern Oklahoma Development Authority. The assessment was completed in 2020.

“The capitol needs assessment looks at the infrastructure in the city, all the sewer lines, waterlines, the state of the roads,” he said. “It gives us a big picture of what all the needs of the community are, and it provides a breakdown of what projects we should accomplish.”

Several projects are already underway, including an overhaul of the community’s water wells along the Arkansas River, and addressing the White Plume lift station east of town.

The capitol needs assessment is also looking at future projects.

“It provides a breakdown of projects we should accomplish – the water treatment plant, various water and sewer lines, the (12thStreet) lift station,” he said.

The sales tax is indefinite, and has no expiration date. Projects will be addressed as funds are collected.

“That is what we’re intending the sales tax for, to help with the infrastructure needs we have,” Smykil said. “It depends on the taxable sales in Newkirk during the long haul.”

For more information, contact the city of Newkirk at (580) 362-5113.

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