Bell's Amusement Park signs lease with county, county seeks sales tax to buy land

Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:01 PM | Contributed by Zingo

Wagoner County Commissioners on Monday OK’d a resolution to relocate Bell's Amusement Park in the county, pending the passage of a sales tax increase in July. If voters approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase July 27, the county will use that money to buy property to relocate the park and its famous Zingo roller coaster.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:40 PM

I dislike taxpayers subsidizing private business. A sales tax increase to buy land to lease to Bells. Outrageous!

This is every bit as bad as stadiums, arenas, science centers, zoos, and the such living off taxpayer's (That's YOUR) money.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:01 PM

It's not as if the city is imposing the rate hike. The voters will have the choice to vote it down if they so choose.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:15 PM

Considering it was a governmental entity that screwed the Bell's to begin with, it's the least that they can do.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:59 PM

Not liking business subsidies, at the local level, is incredibly shortsighted. I've worked for municipalities, and lot of these arrangements (leased land, tax abatements, etc.) inevitably bring businesses into town and go a long way toward paying for safety services, roads, etc. A short-term sales tax is a solid way to do it, and the jobs and out-of-town tax revenue snowball from there once the park opens. I'd vote for it.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 4:25 PM

Yeah, when you come from somewhere with nothing to do, no place to go, and no economy, you won't complain when there is a slight sales tax increase in order to provide a business that will employ people, give people a choice for entertainment, and bolster the local economy. I don't mind a higher tax IF it pays for something useful to the community. That goes for having nice things like stadiums, arenas, science centers, zoos. It IS my money. And if my money goes to build an amusement park, I'm happy with that.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:01 PM

Never gonna happen.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:49 PM

Based on your extensive polling of county residents and in depth knowledge of the local political climate?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:43 PM

Progress. Yay!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 8:56 PM

Everyone who thinks that this is a good idea should voluntarily send their money the the county, and not try to impose it on any one who purchases anything in the county.

If the county feels it must do this, perhaps it should sell bonds and pay them with the lease revenue. It can be amazing how long temporary can be when it comes to taxes.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:11 AM

I've yet to see convincing evidence that this is BAD for the county. We've listed benefits, please list the negatives of this, I'd love to see what you have to say.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:25 AM

What about...umm...TRAFFIC! Yeah, Traffic. There's one.

Except that traffic brings money to the area. Oh well. I tried.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:42 AM

Let the locals decide. But typically, the benefits are oversold and the costs are underestimated (classic government at work). And the truly temporary tax is a rare breed.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:12 PM

It's not rare if you put it in the ballot issue that it's temporary. We had just such an issue in the county I lived in outside of Cleveland a couple of years ago, and when it expired, it expired. It can't not expire unless voters say otherwise.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:57 PM

It can work that way if drafted right. But even then, when the tax is set to expire, government officials can find another project that they want to fund, authorize that funding thereby creating a deficit and then go to the voters to keep the tax to pay for trash removal to eliminate the deficit. Once provided a source of revenue, politicians tend to what to do everything and anything to keep it.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:12 PM

Jeff said:
It can't not expire unless voters say otherwise.

I had to read that twice before I got it. :)

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 7:06 PM

So what's the arrangement here-- the county will own the land (once purchased) and will lease it to the Bells? Not being familiar with the situation, I have to wonder why the Bells don't purchase a tract of land themselves? Perhaps leasing the land would be less expensive than paying tax on it by owning it. But having been evicted already by one temperamental landlord, it would make me a little nervous about entering a deal with another one. Who's to say the county won't come back sometime down the road and decide they want more money, in one form or another, even with a 50-year lease in place?

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 7:36 PM

Bells may not have been able to finance the purchase of the land themselves.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 1:37 AM

GoBucks89 said:
Once provided a source of revenue, politicians tend to what to do everything and anything to keep it.

Then I guess you tend to vote for the wrong people.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 9:50 AM

Jeff said:

GoBucks89 said:
Once provided a source of revenue, politicians tend to what to do everything and anything to keep it.

Then I guess you tend to vote for the wrong people.

Your statement might make some sense if I was the only person with a vote in the country. But I am not. So it doesn't.

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