The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 10, 2013

Miami sales-tax proposal, four school board races on ballots in Ottawa County

MIAMI, Okla. — Voters on Tuesday in Miami will be asked to endorse a sales tax shift backed by city officials, the local school district and the community college that would fund the multimillion-dollar Red Robertson Multi-Purpose Event and Sports Complex.

On the same day, voters in the Quapaw, Wyandotte, Turkey Ford and Afton school districts will elect one board member in each district.

MIAMI PROPOSAL

The Miami proposal calls for shifting a city sales tax of 0.65 percent from street projects to the stadium and event center project at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. The proposal calls for the issuance of up to $8.8 million in bonds, refinancing current road debt, extending the amended sales tax for 22 years, and obtaining $2.5 million from sources such as donations, lease agreements and naming rights.

Proponents of the plan say NEO’s current Red Robertson Field, which was built in 1964, is showing the impact of use over the years and has multiple issues because of when it was constructed.

A Miami Community Facilities Authority would be composed of representatives of the City Council, NEO and the Miami School District. The panel would be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the complex.

The school district, which now uses Robertson Field, would have a lease arrangement for the complex, with lease revenue going toward the debt.

Proponents say the complex would be of significant value to the school district for multiple athletic and nonathletic events. They also estimate an annual $700,000 economic impact for local businesses from athletic, civic, and city and regional events that the complex could accommodate.

If the proposal fails to receive the simple majority needed for passage, the current tax will continue to be assessed only until it has paid off any current debt.

SCHOOL BOARD RACES

Candidates for area school boards in Tuesday’s election are as follows:

• Quapaw — Position No. 3: John Jennings, Dale Lasiter Jr. and Wesley Davis.

• Turkey Ford — Position No. 1: Geneva Fletcher and Clarence Jones.

• Wyandotte — Position No. 3: Kenneth Arment, Steve Dixon, Brian Clapp and Alan Goforth.

• Afton — Position No. 3: Jeff Robinson and Roger Cook.

Voting details

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Early and in-person absentee voting will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Courthouse Annex Community Room at 123 E. Central Ave. in Miami.

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