McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

May 11, 2013

Want better roads? Vote 'yes'

Tuesday ballot question doesn't cost a thing

By Kandra Wells

McALESTER — McAlester’s roads are a mess. There’s no question about that. But it’s up to voters Tuesday to fix the problem anytime in the near future.

It costs thousands of dollars to pave a single mile of roadway, and the city doesn’t have that kind of money sitting around. It does, however, have access to money that could be used for roads if voters will only give it the OK.

The money is already coming to the city — in the form of a 1-cent sales tax — but can’t be used for capital improvements (such as road construction) without voter approval. Instead, it’s being used to pay down debt incurred for roads and other Capital Improvement Projects years and years ago.

In November, voters approved one of two proposals linked to road construction. The “yes” votes allowed the city to refinance some existing bonds at a lower rate — meaning money borrowed by the city against the bonds will be paid off earlier with sales tax revenue in coming years. But a proposal to specifically use the tax money for roads failed.

That’s just silly.

If there’s anything this city needs it’s better roads. We all know it.

And it doesn’t cost us another dime.

All we have to do is vote “yes.”