Lisa M. Friden, GACC President

Grove Area Chamber Opposes Jail Tax

The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce has officially announced its opposition to the proposed “jail tax” which will be voted upon by the people of Delaware County Aug. 26.

The Chamber board voted earlier this year to oppose the tax, which is a half-penny additional sales tax on top of the 8.8% currently levied in Grove. The additional tax will bring the new total to 9.3%, making it one of the highest in the State of Oklahoma and the second highest in the state for a city of Grove’s size.

Chamber officials said the new tax will be a deterrent to shopping in Grove and is funded on the backs of the people least able to afford it - the struggling family buying groceries and necessary items.

The Chamber board feels the new tax would put a financial bind on the City of Grove, which itself would find nearly impossible to levy additional sales taxes to fund roads or streets or other necessary infrastructure improvements.

Chamber officials stated that a new and larger jail is needed, but the funding issue is too punitive for Grove, which funds some 60% of the total county sales tax revenues. Grove already funds a .4 cent tax for 19 rural fire departments and a .5 cent tax for the solid waste program in the county.

The Chamber urged County Commissioners to come up with a more equitable way to fund county programs rather than continue to place the majority of the burden of Grove citizens.

The new jail will cost $10.5 million and have 228 beds. After the 20 year note is paid off, the jail sales tax will be reduced from .5 cents to .35 cents, to last forever for funding maintenance and operations of the new jail. The location for the new jail is on land owned by the City of Jay in the economic development park.

Lisa M. Friden, GACC President