Two-cent sales tax renewed, Ward 2 seat will go to a runoff

Sapulpa’s 2-cent sales tax that has been in place since 1989 will remain in place, voters decided on Tuesday evening. The vote to continue the tax in perpetuity passed by a vote of over 63% in favor.

The use of the term “perpetuity” has caused confusion with some voters, who have termed the item a “forever tax.” City Attorney David Widdoes assured the city council and gallery on Monday evening that it’s not the case, saying that at any point, the item could be brought up by any city councilor and could be brought to a vote again, or the city could have it placed on a ballot by a formal petition. “In perpetuity” simply means that voters will not have to vote to renew the tax on a regular basis, as has been the case since 1989.

Until the passing of this measure, Sapulpa was the only community in the metro-Tulsa area that didn’t already have a 2-3 cent sales tax in perpetuity, according to City Attorney David Widdoes.

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Vice-Mayor Carla Gunn will contend with newcomer London Dobson for her Ward 2 City Council Seat in a runoff in April. Gunn, a lifelong Sapulpan and Sapulpa’s first black Vice-Mayor, had stiff competition in this year’s race, including from the man who appointed her to the council in the first place.

London Dobson, 20, was either ahead or neck-and-neck with Gunn as the precincts began reporting in. At 50% of the precincts reporting in, she was leading Gunn 45 to 38. By the time 70% of the precincts were reporting in, Gunn had gained a sizable lead of 20 votes, and by the time all precincts had reported in, Gunn had received 47.53% of the vote, missing the needed 50% plus one vote to secure the seat and keep the election from going on to a runoff. Gunn finished with 77 votes to Dobson’s 47 votes, out of a total of 162 votes from 10 Ward 2 precincts.

John T. Anderson, 76, came out of retirement to run against Carla Gunn. He gained a total of 38 votes or 23.46%. Anderson, who retired in 2020 after 34 years with Sapulpa City Council, is listed as the longest-running city councilor Sapulpa has ever had.