The tax would provide funds to the Calera Street and Alley Department to install and maintain a signal light on the highway and to help maintain streets, alleys, roads and bridges in town, according to the resolution.
The town's current overall tax rate is 8.25 percent.
Several years ago, the council considered a proposal from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to put in a stop light, but the town would have had to provide matching funds, and some business owners were upset because the project required some of the crossovers to be closed.
If the tax passes, ODOT is expected to conduct another study, make recommendations and help install the traffic light, according to Calera officials.
Vicki Barkley has been a member of Calera Council since August, however, she first proposed the idea in April speaking as a citizen. She spoke after the deaths of two senior citizens killed on their way home from church when their vehicle tried to cross the highway.
“I was on the agenda to speak to the council before that wreck simply because I have a 12-year-old son who will be driving in a few years,” Barkley said. “That was my motivation.”
Barkley said she just wants people to vote and let the council know what they want.
“No matter how people vote, I just hope that people will go out and vote,” she said. “Of course, this is very close to my heart, but I understand everybody has an opinion.”
Not all citizens feel that raising taxes for a traffic light is the answer. During a letter to the editor published last week in the Democrat, Derrick Dunegan said that putting a traffic light on a major highway would be like giving a gunshot victim a Band-Aid and could cause more harm than good.
Dunegan cited driver error as the causes of the crashes.
“I won't deny that the highway through our town is dangerous,” he wrote. “But how many wrecks in Calera have been caused by someone's carelessness in just pulling out in front of someone?”
Calera Police are working with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to prepare an educational program on traffic safety, according to Chief Don Hyde.
Barkley understands that a stoplight will not prevent accidents, but believes it will make the highway safer.
“I don't think for a minute that it means we won't have wrecks on the highway but I think it will cut down on fatalities,” she said. “I live on the east side and have to cross the highway to take the children to school, go to church, go get a gallon of milk and what have you.
“I don't want to see my taxes go up but to improve the town, it's going to cost money.”