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Does OKC need more seats on the city council?

by William Crum Published: January 16, 2014

Oklahoma City Council members say they’ll continue discussing the idea of adding wards and council seats.

The council is discussing a proposal to increase the number of seats from eight to 10. A recent discussion brought out issues including:

• How ward boundaries would be redrawn.

• Whether the cost of government would go up.

• Whether residents have sufficient representation.

• Whether having part-time council members — earning $12,000 per year — limits those who can afford to serve.

Council members each represent an estimated 72,000 residents, up from about 63,000 in 2002 and about 55,000 in 1992.

“I’ve never had anybody complain to me about being under-represented,” said Ward 8 Councilman Pat Ryan.

Data compiled by the city shows “peer” cities — including El Paso, Texas; Omaha, Neb., and Tucson, Ariz. — have councils similar in size to Oklahoma City’s.

“We don’t appear to be an outlier,” said Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer.

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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