The week in review, and the week ahead, in Oklahoma City civic affairs.
Streets need work, survey shows
Oklahoma City's latest survey of residents' attitudes is out, and 78 percent of those who responded think the city is moving in the right direction. Eight out of 10 said they thought of Oklahoma City as a good place to live, raise children and work. Areas of least satisfaction: Streets and public transit, the perennial also-rans in the annual survey. Learn more online at www.okc.gov/finance/2014_CitizenSurvey.pdf.
Economic development expenditures
The city council allocates tax money each year to promote economic development. Here are figures for fiscal 2015, which began July 1:
• $900,000 to the Foundation for Economic Development. Source: General Fund (primarily sales tax).
• $206,000 to smaller chambers of commerce, such as the Hispanic and South Oklahoma City chambers. Source: General Fund, increase of $30,000.
• $5.2 million to Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Source: Hotel/Motel Tax, increase of $577,500.
• $1.4 million to event sponsorship through CVB. Source Hotel/Motel Tax, increase of $150,000.
• $50,000 to CVB horse show support. Source: General Fund, reduction of $25,000.
Water rate increases advance
The Water Utilities Trust voted last week to move ahead with plans to raise water rates. Increased rates are proposed to cover costs for water system improvements and to accommodate growth over the next decade. The biggest single project is construction of a second pipeline to transfer drinking water from reservoirs in southeastern Oklahoma to treatment plants in the metro area. The proposals move on to the planning commission and city council.
They said it
“That well has no bottom.”
— Ward 4 Councilman Pete White, who was uneasy with neighbors' complaints that their property values would be adversely affected if the council voted to let Cedar Ridge, a mental health treatment facility, keep treating adults at its northeast-side campus. The council voted 7-1 to approve Cedar Ridge's request.
Mayor Mick Cornett and all eight members of the city council attended last Tuesday's meeting. Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer missed some votes after leaving early to attend a funeral.
The city council is on its summer schedule; the next meeting is July 29. The Traffic and Transportation Commission meets at 1:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall; regulations for Uber, Lyft and other “ridesharing” services — to be known as “transportation network companies” — will be discussed. The services contract with private individuals, who agree to use their vehicles to give rides to people who arrange the rides and pay with a smartphone app. The services have been operating in Oklahoma City since last fall, and city officials have concluded they illegally compete with highly regulated taxi and limousine companies.
William Crum, Staff Writer