The Norman Transcript

Editorials

January 31, 2014

Booming economy helps county pay down jail debt

NORMAN — The county’s quarter-cent jail sales tax was approved by voters just as the nation was entering an economic downturn, the likes of which we had not seen since the 1930s.

At the time, the tax was expected to generate about $500,000 per month to build the new detention center on Franklin Road and U.S. Highway 77. At that rate, it would have taken 20 years to pay back the debt.

It turns out, the countywide levy is exceeding expectations and is generating up to $650,000 per month.

Officials credit retail expansion in Norman and Moore for the increased revenue. The boom has allowed county commissioners to pay down the debt on the facility and save millions of dollars in borrowing costs.

That’s fortunate because the county, relying on cost estimates that were made before the recession, borrowed more money than it needed for the facility.

If conditions continue, commissioners say they may be able to pay off the facility in about half the time. That means voters could see the tax go away in about half the time.

At the time of the vote, commissioners vowed to sunset the tax as soon as the final bonds are paid off. We’re glad to report that could come 10 years early.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • What’s causing these earthquakes?

    Much of north central Oklahoma has been experiencing about an earthquake a day this year. Statewide, there have been 2,270 small earthquakes so far compared to 2,848 in all of 2013. The question of whether oilfield “fracking” and ...

    July 19, 2014

  • Bankers and the pot biz

    It’s not a problem in Oklahoma — and probably won’t be for a long time, if ever — but bankers in states that allow medical and recreational marijuana have trouble dealing with marijuana-related businesses....

    July 18, 2014

  • Shelter petitioners face big challenge

    The debate over who should fund storm shelters for public schools has moved from politicians to the people....

    July 18, 2014

  • More jobs needed to boost economy

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s cautious optimism about the nation’s economy was reassuring to the stock market Tuesday. Yellen said the economy continued to improve but the recovery is not yet complete....

    July 17, 2014

  • Technology fights crime

    Cellular telephones are being used to solve crimes every day. Drivers routinely call in and report bad drivers, suspected drunk drivers or suspicious activity....

    July 17, 2014

  • Pesky red cedars

    A trip through the countryside in just about any area of the state will give you a drive-by view of red cedar infestation. Acreage is being gobbled by the trees that grow fast and consume considerable water....

    July 15, 2014

  • Inhofe to the rescue

    Oklahoma’s senior U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is a hero to many rural fire departments this week. Sen. Inhofe brokered a way for the firefighters to continue receiving surplus military vehicles for firefighting....

    July 12, 2014