EDMOND — Ward 4 City Councilman Nick Massey and Shilpa Abbitt will be on the April 2 general election ballot.
Massey was appointed to his council job last March to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman David Miller, who resigned to take a job out of state.
Abbitt, a Devon Energy reservoir engineer, said she has some concerns about the council's long-term goal to become a destination to experience art, entertainment, amateur sporting events and outdoor recreation.
Abbitt, 42, said she wants to know what that means and whether it will increase taxes in Edmond. She said she believes there is plenty of entertainment and arts in nearby Guthrie and Oklahoma City.
Such goals are included in the city council's strategic plan for 2012-13. The plan was created after an all-day session and a couple of workshops. The plan is used as a guide for the direction the council will take this year and in the future.
“Those are broad-based goals and who wouldn't want that,” Massey said. “It encompasses Edmond as a nice place to live and grow. Citizens have made it clear that is what they like and want.”
Abbitt wants to look on an individual basis at public-private partnerships such as the city's role in the construction of a hotel and conference center.
The city invested $11 million as part of a public-private partnership to build a conference center, install infrastructure and purchase land at Covell Road and Interstate 35. City officials said over 15 years they will get $9 million of the investment back.
“The people didn't get to vote,” Abbitt said about the conference center. “I want the citizens to have a voice because it is going to affect their bottom line.”
Abbitt said she questions whether the government should pick and choose which businesses to help out in a partnership.
Massey, a former vice chairman of the Edmond Economic Development Authority, is a supporter of the hotel-conference center because he thinks it is good for the city's economic development.
Massey played a key role in the city recently passing a policy for incentives for retail owners who open a business in Edmond, or for local businesses that expand.
Abbitt and her husband, Wyatt, moved to Edmond in 2001 for her job with Devon. They have two sons. This is her first campaign for public office.
“I really like Edmond and wanted to give back to the community,” Abbitt said. “I thought about it off and on, and this was the right timing. Edmond is a wonderful place and I want to make a contribution.”
Massey, 65, will be running his first campaign. The president of a financial planning company, he said his background in business, finances and economic development is beneficial to the council.
“I hope the makeup of the council stays in place,” Massey said. “I think we all bring our own individual strengths. As a team, we bring a lot to the table.”