The Oklahoma City Council is expected to vote today to put on the Dec. 8 ballot a proposal to extend for seven years and nine months a temporary 1% sales tax set to expire in April 2010.

The Metropolitan Area Projects 3 plan outlined by Mayor Mick Cornett last week would generate $771 million over the seven-year span to provide $280 million for a new convention center, $130 million for transit projects that include a downtown streetcar and commuter rail system, and $130 million for a 70-acre downtown park.

Revenues from the extended tax would not be used to support bonds or other debt for the improvement efforts, Cornett said. The projects will be built debt-free, he said.

Voters approved a 15-month extension of the sales tax in March 2008 to renovate the city’s Ford Center at an estimated cost of $100 million and build a $20 million off-site practice facility for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association. The team was known as the Seattle SuperSonics before the move to Oklahoma City in 2008.

The MAPS 1 program was financed by a five-year, 1% sales tax, that was approved in 1993 and extended by six months in 1998 to complete the effort. It generated $363 million.

The second MAPS program, known as MAPS for Kids, generated $714 million through a seven-year 1% sales tax that was extended by voters to finance the renovations to the sports facilities.

The current sales tax rate in Oklahoma City, which will remain stable if the extension is approved, is 8.375%. That includes the 4.5% state tax, a 1% sports facility tax, a 2% general fund tax, a 0.75% public safety tax, and a 0.125% zoo tax.

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