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From The Luther Mayor: “Why a Sales Tax Increase”

BancFirst Summer 2021

By Terry Arps, Mayor, Luther, Oklahoma 

There is an election on May 11, 2021, to decide if Luther will initiate a pair of half-cent (1% total) sales tax increases.  While your and my instinctive reactions to a proposal like this is an emphatic “NO,” let me explain why it should be “Yes”.

Terry Arps, Mayor of Luther

The Luther Register’s previous article on the election pointed out that the town is primarily funded by sales tax.  Sales taxes have been unchanged for 40 years but costs and expenses have not.  Added to this, elements of town infrastructure are as old or older and are approaching the end of their useful lives.  Efforts to prepare for this inevitable replacement cycle in years past have left Luther in need of immediate steps to start preparing NOW for replacement sewer lines, water lines, maintenance on the Town water tower, municipal roads, Town hall and equipment for emergency responders.  Breakdown of these would leave the Town in a dire strait.  That’s one of the ½% raises.The other half-cent percent is for operations, human capital.  I am amazed that Luther has been able to get the best small town staff I’ve ever seen.  So good that other municipalities or businesses would are happy to try and snatch them away if possible.  It would be unreasonable to expect staff to remain if Luther doesn’t at least stay competitive.  Additionally, Luther Fire Chief John Brown Sr., who has served without pay for some years, is retiring.  The Town is now in need of a full-time paid Chief.  Without a chief the department will eventually be considered non-functional which in turn will cause insurance rates to skyrocket.  The other half-percent will cover issues such as these.

The Luther Register’s previous article on the election pointed out that the town is primarily funded by sales tax.  Sales taxes have been unchanged for 40 years but costs and expenses have not.  Added to this, elements of town infrastructure are as old or older and are approaching the end of their useful lives.  Efforts to prepare for this inevitable replacement cycle in years past have left Luther in need of immediate steps to start preparing NOW for replacement sewer lines, water lines, maintenance on the Town water tower, municipal roads, Town hall and equipment for emergency responders.  Breakdown of these would leave the Town in a dire strait.  That’s one of the ½% raises.

     The 1% tax hikes are needed, are long overdue, and are essential for the the Town’s future prosperity.

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