Bartlesville voters will decide the outcome of the City’s proposed General Obligation Bond Issue during an election set for Oct. 10, 2023. The election will determine funding for capital projects over a four-year period. Approval of the measure will not result in tax increases for residents.
“The City’s mil levy will remain at 15 as existing bonds expire, so there is no tax increase associated with the G.O. Bond proposal,” said City Manager Mike Bailey.
Projects proposed for both the G.O. Bond Issue are grouped into four propositions:
- Public safety buildings and equipment: $2,412,000
- Municipal buildings and equipment: $696,000
- Streets and bridges: $12,278,000
- Parks and recreation: $2,214,000
Who can vote?
Registered voters who are eligible and who reside within the city limits of Bartlesville will be able to vote in this election. Please remember to bring identification such as a driver’s license or voter ID card.
When can I vote?
Early voting is available at the Washington County Election Board. The Election Board is located on the fourth floor of City Hall, which is located at 401 S. Johnstone Ave. Here is the early voting schedule:
- Thursday, Oct. 5, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 6, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Regular voting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10 – from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – at your local polling place. Absentee voting is available. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Monday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots must be received by mail at the county election board on or before 7 p.m. on election day (Tuesday, Oct. 10). For more information, please call the Washington County Election Board at 918.337.2850 or go online to the Oklahoma State Election board website.
Will approval of this bond issue increase my taxes?
No. Approval of these projects will not result in an increase in taxes. G.O. bonds are funded through ad valorem, or property taxes, which are paid by Bartlesville property owners. The City’s mil levy would remain at 15 with approval of the bond Issue, which would have no impact on ad valorem taxes.
How much will this cost?
G.O. Bond projects total $17.6 million, which includes the “cost to issue” the bonds (COI), and will be issued over a period of four years.
How are the projects decided?
At any given time, the City of Bartlesville has a working list of capital needs that total more than $100 million. City staff and citizen committees narrow the list and then the City Council is tasked with determining the bond amount and deciding which projects will be put before voters in an election. This process was recently completed, and now it’s time for the voters to decide.
What are “70 percent” and “30 percent” projects?
Oklahoma law requires that 70 percent of the projects in each category be specified in the ordinance calling for a G.O. bond election. The law also requires that these projects be completed with the bond funds. The remaining 30 percent are “discretionary” and do not have to be specified in the ordinance, nor is completion required. However, the City of Bartlesville has completed all projects identified as “30 percent projects” in the past and identifies them for voters.
Why are there no projects addressing the City’s ongoing water issue?
The Water Resources Committee is in the process of evaluating the recent drought and the Water Shortage Ordinance, which is essentially the plan that was implemented in an effort to preserve water supply until a major rain event or until other provisions can be made. Significant rainfall in July filled Hulah Lake, removing the need for immediate action; however, City officials continue to pursue water options for Bartlesville for the future.
The committee will study this issue and make recommendations to the City Council regarding future options, at which time decisions regarding expenditures and funding will be determined. It is likely the City will utilize low interest loans, to be repaid with Water Capital Fees, to meet the infrastructure needs required at that time.
For more information, see GO Bond 2023: FAQ, projects.