- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A Tulsa County sales tax proposal approved by almost two-thirds of voters last month may be in doubt because of an irregularity in the publishing of legal notices prior to the election.

The issue involves the failure of some paid legal notices from Tulsa County to appear in the Tulsa World, the newspaper reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1TUtN8J ). The missed notices could invalidate the vote on the county’s portion of the 0.05 percent sales tax extension.

State law requires publishing four notices of tax propositions “at least four weeks in some newspaper published in the county” before a vote in a special election. Only one of the four legal notices appeared in the classified legal notices section of the Tulsa World.

“We’re required by law to publish the information a certain number of times,” Tulsa County Commissioner Ron Peters said. “That didn’t happen. Mistakes were made. Now we’re trying to make sure we set it right.”

Tulsa County discovered the missed notices after the special election and notified the World, Peters said. He said the county provided information to the World for publication, but said he didn’t “want to point any fingers” regarding who is at fault for the missed legal notices.

“It’s important to recognize that the intent was to publish the information,” Peters said. “What we’re trying to do is make sure the will of the voters is upheld.”

Tulsa World Publisher Bill Masterson said the World believes the notices to the public are in compliance or “substantial compliance” with the law because the vote was heavily publicized in many ways, including stories in the World, tulsaworld.com and direct mail.

If the court finds the election invalid, a second election may be required.

The county tax, which takes effect Jan. 1, is expected to raise $75 million over 15 years and will be used mostly for roads, bridges and parks. The proposition received a 64 percent yes vote.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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