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April 2, 2014

Residents approve safety sales tax by narrow margin

NORMAN — Norman voters approved the permanent Public Safety Sales Tax proposition by a narrow margin Tuesday. The tax passed 3,798 to 3,660, according to unofficial results.

“We really appreciate the support of the voters. They have supported what has been a very, very successful program,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “I’m optimistic we will return to our community the same successful public safety outcomes that we did with PSST I.”

Rosenthal said it was clear that early and absentee voters were not misled by misinformation over the weekend with a negative campaign.

“They understood what was on the line,” she said.

With the proposition winning by 138 votes, the weekend campaign had a big effect on voters at the polls.

“It looks like where the difference came in was the early voters and mail-in voters. I suspect the message didn’t get to them,” said Dr. Harold Haralson, former mayor who opposed the proposition.

Haralson said he hopes the mayor and city council recognizes the fact that the victory was not the landslide some may have had in mind.

“I would like to thank the voters and the city for turning out and voting,” he said. “They should be commended for that.”

Former city council member Roger Gallagher said the close vote shows there was not complete acceptance by the community.

“We were never against public safety. We all want public safety,” Gallagher said. “We would’ve stood shoulder to shoulder for it if the language on the ballot would have been a little tighter.”

Gallagher said he thought the public deserved a little more time for their ideas to come forth, and the language on the ballot should have provided more clarity.

“It was close, and that just says it was a worthwhile debate,” he said.

Rosenthal said residents should be assured the critical capital projects will be fulfilled by the council, just as they were in the first PSST.

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