After Wolff left the meeting, the News-Capital spoke to him in the lobby of City Hall. The News-Capital noted that neither the ballot language passed Tuesday night nor an accompanying ordinance said anything about restricting the “re-purposed” money to road and street projects.
Wolff said that was correct. “The intent is to use it for road projects,” Wolff said. Regardless of the intent of some or all of the current city council, could the city legally spend the money for any type of capital outlay if voters pass the measure with the ballot language approved Tuesday night? “They could legally use it for anything,” Wolff confirmed, referring to capital expenditures.
After the story was posted online, Mayor Harrison contacted the News-Capital. Harrison said there had been no need to use ballot language regarding road and street improvements in the ballot language approved by the city council Tuesday night and which will be presented to voters in May.
The mayor said that’s because that language had been included in Proposition 1 which voters passed last November. The mayor said the money resulting from passage of the measure could only be used for things approved by the voters in McAlester.
Meanwhile, the ballot language approved by the city council Tuesday night to go before voters in May reads: “Shall Ordinance No, 2453 of the city of McAlester Oklahoma (The ‘City”) be approved, which ordinance does not increase or extend the term of a sales tax, but does modify the purpose of an existing 1 percent sales tax currently being levied by the city, to allow the tax to be used to pay debt service on obligations herettofore or hereafter approved by the voters of the city; all as more specifically set out in Ordinance 2453 of said city?” Voters are then given an option of voting “yes” for the proposition, or “no” to vote against it.