Cushing voters went to the polls Tuesday in fair numbers to say “yes” to two proposals: the extension of the 0.8% sales tax and the addition of a 4% hotel/motel tax. While the numbers do not include the absentee ballots, the margin was wide enough to declare it a landslide with an 80% approval for the sales tax extension and 73.5% approval for the hotel/motel tax. There were 436 votes cast for the tax extension with 110 against and 399 voting for the hotel/motel tax with 144 against.

“We are very pleased and excited at the outcome of this vote,” said Mayor John Henckel after hearing the results. “We want to thank all the voters who turned out. It was good to see it was a bigger vote than the last time.” Henckel referred to the recent vote on amendments to the Cushing Charter.

The sales tax extension will replace the expiring 0.8% general sales tax. The expiring tax was used for the renovation and expansion of the Cushing Public Library and to construct the new Sports Complex. The extension will be used to provide revenues for capital expenditures including public safety improvements (police and fire stations), municipal facilities, equipment purchases such as paramedic equipment, ambulances, fire trucks and police cars, and will include the operations and maintenance of these improvements. It will also go for much needed infrastructure improvements such as sewer lines, water lines, streets, etc.

Topping that list of improvements, however, is a new facility to house Cushing’s police and fire departments. Recently the City hired an architect to study issues facing both departments (ie: cramped and deteriorating facilities), and after an indepth review, it was determined the most cost-effective and efficient way to solve those problems would be to build a combination police and fire station.

“We’re so thankful to the people who voted,” said Fire Chief Brent Kerr.

Mayor Henckel echoed Kerr’s sentiments adding, “It’s our plan to use local contractors to build the new station. Electricians, builders – we want participants to come from Cushing. We want this money to stay here at home.”

According to City Manager Steve Spears, once the project is underway it should take approximately 18 months to complete.

The proceeds from the hotel/motel tax will be used for functions of municipal government, including encouraging, promoting and fostering economic development and related infrastructure improvements.

Poll numbers:

0.8% sales tax extension

City Hall

Yes: 63 No: 24

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church

Yes: 138 No: 30

Cushing Christian Church

Yes: 147 No: 37

Oak Street Baptist

Yes: 88 No: 19

4% hotel/motel tax

City Hall

Yes: 50 No: 38

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church

Yes: 136 No: 31

Cushing Christian

Yes: 132 No: 45

Oak Street

Yes: 81 No: 27