EDMOND — Councilman Nick Massey faces challenger Shilpa Abbitt for the Ward 4 city council job in Tuesday's general election.
Massey, 65, was appointed a year ago to fill the unexpired term of David Miller, who resigned to take a job out of the state.
This is the first time for both Massey, a financial and investment adviser, and Abbitt, a Devon Energy reservoir engineer, to run for public office.
Abbitt, 42, said she is not a supporter of public-private partnerships, particularly the city's $11 million investment for a hotel and conference center and sports complex at Interstate 35 and Covell Road.
She does not like it that the city purchased land and is leasing it to private companies.
“It would have been nice for residents to vote on it,” Abbitt said. “We should have had a chance to vote on it when you take big chunks out of the budget.”
Massey said he is a supporter of public-private partnerships and the I-35 and Covell development because it will bring economic development to Edmond and increase the sales tax base. He said he is pro-growth and pro-quality business and pro-balanced economic development.
“I think Edmond is headed in the right direction,” Massey said. “We live and die by sales tax revenue.”
Massey said the economic base needs to continue to grow so the city can give the residents what they want.
“Helping ensure balanced growth and a rich quality of life in Edmond is my number one priority,” Massey said.
Massey led the way to create an incentive policy where the city, Edmond Economic Development Authority and Edmond Electric are offering to help businesses, retailers and developers that are currently located in Edmond and want to expand, or want to relocate to Edmond.
Abbitt said she wants to bring the people together in the community and give them a voice, by being inclusive, listening and asking the tough questions. She wants the citizens to have a say in how tax dollars are spent and wants all small-business owners to have an equitable footing in Edmond.
“I believe good government starts at the local level, and that is why I am running for city council,” Abbitt said.
The public safety center half-cent tax, Abbitt said, should be stopped once enough money is collected to pay for the building.
Voters approved the tax for five years to pay for the downtown public safety center building and a second building for the crime lab and storage for evidence and vehicles. Voters said any remaining money would go to capital improvement projects.
“I don't think any of the citizens would mind if we stopped early,” Abbitt said. “We should give people a choice.”
Massey is a supporter of the public safety center, the new home of police headquarters, 911 communications and emergency operations. He served as a public safety center promotion committee member.
“A lot of things are happening,” Massey said. “Edmond is a great city on the verge of becoming even greater.
“I promise to work hard to serve the citizens of Edmond and help ensure Edmond's future as the community everyone wants to be part of.”
About the election
Registered voters living in the city limits of Edmond can vote in the Ward 4 and mayoral races on Tuesday.