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July 23, 2013

Diamond Head wants sales tax returned

Diamond Head / Lone Chapel Fire Department filed a civil lawsuit against Mayes County Commissioners June 14. The commissioners have no comment because no notification of the lawsuit has been received.

A motion has been filed by the fire department requiring the strict enforcement of a sales tax resolution.

The resolution in question was passed in 2002 and says one quarter percent of the sales tax will be divided equally between 14 specifically identified fire departments. The resolution outlines the use of the funding, including construction of new fire stations or improvement of existing fire stations, purchase of communication equipment, training/education, purchase of firefighter and emergency response vehicles and equipment, paying off existing debts of the fire department and for the general maintenance and operation of the 14 fire departments.

The application for issuance of write of mandamus, written by Diamond Head's attorney Darrell Moore, discusses the ballot on which Mayes County residents voted 6,795 in favor of the proposition and 4,719 against.

The application references a county commissioner meeting in 2012 in which the commissioners discussed the tax.

“The Mayes County Commissioners, by a vote of 2-1, determined to not distribute equally all of the monies generated by the one quarter percent tax,” Moore wrote in the application.

“Representatives of the Diamond Head Fire Department attended the Commissioners' meeting and attempted to speak in opposition to the Commissioners' actions, but were determined to be out of order and were not recognized by the Commissioners,” according to the application.

Moore writes that to the detriment of the department Diamond Head no longer receives an equal share of the tax revenue. The application concludes in saying that Diamond Head Fire Department is in Mayes County and has a clear legal right pursuant to a vote of the people to an equal share of the monthly income of the sales tax.

“By their actions of Dec. 17, 2012, the Mayes County Commissioners have ignored their plain legal duty and instead have taken action directly contrary to the vote of the people,” said Moore.

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