The Duncan Banner

Local News

July 7, 2013

Lawton Marketplace could lure customers away from Duncan

City projects on hold pending outcome of sales tax revenue

DUNCAN — Several capital projects in Duncan are on hold at the midpoint of the 2013 city budget, some waiting on grants and others delayed because a new Target store in Lawton and other retail outlets there could siphon sales tax collections here.

The projects in limbo – well into the summer season — include a splash pad at Douglass Park, campsite upgrades at Duncan lakes and improvements at city parks, including a parking lot expansion at Abe Raizen Park used heavily now for youth baseball and softball.

 City Finance Director Patti Clift plans to meet with department heads July 23 to review revenues and spending so far this year and assess the city’s fiscal picture heading into the last months of the 2013 budget. The $61 million budget expires Dec. 31.

Sales tax collections so far this year have come in just above expectations, Clift said. The city projected that Duncan would take in more than $13 million in sales taxes this year.

The city relies on sales taxes and income from its electric and water utilities to fund a major portion of the services and amenities it provides. Water revenues could dip because of restrictions imposed on outdoor water use due to the drought.

All of that will be examined in the upcoming meeting.

“At that point we can make decisions and tell the department heads whether they can go forward with capital improvement projects,” said City Manager Jim Frieda.

Some major expenditures and parts of the budget, including pay raises for city employees, have moved forward. And some money has been spent for capital improvements, including vehicle and equipment upgrades for the police and fire departments.

Frieda said the city’s finances have improved in the past few years. Total cash on hand and investments as of June 30 topped $26 million, more than $9 million more than at the same point in June 2010, according to city figures.

The city’s debt — about $53 million as of June 30 — has been reduced by more than $6.8 million over the past three years, he said.

But the city is still spending about $5 million a year paying down debt, and Frieda says he wants to have enough available cash to cover a year’s worth of debt service in case of an unforeseen financial emergency.

And he said the city must be wary of sales taxes in Duncan, at least temporarily, being siphoned away by the Target and other new retail stores planned in Lawton. After several years of delays, the 350,000 square-foot Lawton Marketplace is moving forward.

 Other new stores planned for Lawton include Academy Sports & Outdoors, TJ Maxx, Famous Footwear, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant and PetSmart.

Those are sure to draw customers — and some of their sales tax dollars — from Duncan.

Frieda said he has discussed the potential hit on sales taxes here with the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but a dollar estimate on the possible loss has not been made.

“I think there is a natural tendency to have at least a curiosity draw where people are willing to drive to Lawton and shop just to satisfy their curiosity,” Frieda said.

“Once you draw a person into another community and shop you have to anticipate that, having a meal there and just a number of things.”

Here is the status of some capital projects that were slated for spending in the budget:

n Douglass Splash: $90,000 in city funds to be combined with $90,000 in state grant funds. Project on hold because grant money still pending.

n Abe Raizen Park: $150,000 to do third phase of parking expansion. On hold pending upcoming budget review. Some other improvements in parks on hold pending budget review.

n Campsite improvements at Duncan lakes: $70,000 to upgrade electrical outlets at campsites. Much of it on hold pending budget review.

n  Heritage Trails Project: $160,000 in grant money, with a $32,000 match from city, to start building a walking trail through part of Duncan. Several entities are involved in the project and progress in moving forward has been slow.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Duncan’s dead animals to be sold for science

    The City of Duncan has found what it believes is a positive way to handle the disposal of all the dogs and cats it euthanizes.
    It sells their carcasses to science.
    The practice, which has been going on for about five years now, not only furthers the cause of educational science, but provides some money for the cash-strapped Duncan’s general fund.

    July 27, 2014

  • 7-27 Academy.jpg Prisons expand their reach to train new officers

    Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cable ONE starts lineup changes

      Cable One, the cable TV service provider for Duncan and Marlow, will begin a series of changes in its channel lineup on Aug. 5, the company said.
        The cable service is changing to an all digital format that will enable customers with an HDTV to see high definition programs in true high defnition.

    July 27, 2014

  • Tax-free weekend begins Friday

    It’s been seven years since Oklahoma legislators passed the tax-free holiday to keep shoppers in Oklahoma.
    Beginning at midnight Friday, the tax-free weekend returns to Oklahoma and is set to conclude at midnight Aug. 3. The Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes Duncan retailers will benefit from the three-day event.

    July 27, 2014

  • Murder trial postponed until January

      The impending trial of Miles Bench, who faces a possible death penalty in the slaying of a Velma teen-ager, has been postponed until January.
      District Judge Joe Enos granted the continuance at the request of Bench’s attorneys, District Attorney Jason Hicks said Saturday.

    July 27, 2014

  • Masses give unaccompanied children a taste of home

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship.
    But the weekly Masses celebrated by Fathers Philip Seeton and Nerio Espinoza since the end of June are unique for their location, at Fort Sill, and their congregants, who are hundreds of Hispanic children hungry for the familiarity of their Catholic faith.

    July 27, 2014

  • 7-25 Marlow Gas.jpg Church ministry to host $1-per-gallon gas event on Saturday

    Hop & Sack Grocery should be hopping on Saturday morning.
       The annual gas buydown project, a ministry of Marlow’s First Baptist Church, will begin at 8 a.m. and last until noon on Saturday.
     The church will buy down the price of gas so customers will pay only $1 per gallon for up to 20 gallons.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 Chance Anderson.jpg Homegrown Marlow singer returns for free concert

        Marlow native Chance Anderson brought his  band to  Marlow’s downtown stage Thursday evening for the second of three community concerts of the summer.
     Free hot dogs and drinks were served to about 150 people who gathered for the music.
        Jason McPherson, city administrator, said he was proud of the turnout, especially with the raging heat.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Red Cross notes importance of local participation

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25 National Day of the Cowboy 0013.jpg National Day of the Cowboy kicks off Saturday

    The annual National Day of the Cowboy will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.
    The theme is centered around Native American culture and will be showcased through a variety of different activites, specifically the ongoing Allan Houser Exhibition.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo