City Council votes yes on covenant relating to Central Mall tax dollars

City Council votes yes on covenant relating to Central Mall tax dollars 

LAWTON, Okla. – As the city works on the purchase of Central Mall to create a home for the FISTA, council voted on a covenant to still help those befitting from tax dollars.’

An addendum to the council agenda was an attempt to tackle a loss of tax dollars, as the city looks to turn Central Mall from privately to publicly owned.

“This would be a way to still capture ad valorem taxes and for the property inside central mall. This mean would each individual inside central mall will pay their portion of that tax each year,” said Ward 4 Councilman Jay Burk

But it’s not actually tax dollars, it’s in lieu of them. The city being tax exempt would’ve resulted in a loss of funds for a number of organizations including Lawton Public Schools.

“It’s probably one of the larger tax earnings areas. It’s important for the taxing jurisdictions and TIF district 1. If all of a sudden you took that giant hit, it’s a little over 200 thousand in sales tax,” said Deputy City Manager Richard Rogalski

“Every entity that gets tax money would’ve been affected if this had not been able to produce any kind of ad valorem,” said Burk.

Rogalski said this was a necessary step in moving to finalize the purchase of the mall.

“It’s operating for private use this compact says yes we will collect and remit payments in lieu of taxes as if it is not a public use,” said Rogalski.

And Burk said it makes it a win win for all parties involved, as Central Mall can remain a moneymaker.

“Just another step that had to happen to make this still a good project for everybody and still be able to get the tax money so no one is harmed by the purchase of the mall,” said Burk.

More updates on the mall purchase and FISTA project are expected soon.

Discussion over changes to the mask mandate and a vote were expected at today’s meeting, but council quickly voted to strike it from the agenda… it will be on the first agenda of next year.

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