That’s the sentiment of city leaders following the defeated streets and road election Tuesday that only pulled in 1,507 registered voters in a city with 16,098 active voters.
In favor of the $9 million proposal were 618 voters. The other 889 who voted checked no.
And that no means the streets will continue to deteriorate and this week’s rainfall further compounded the problem.
City Manager Jim Frieda, one of the most vocal proponents in favor of the election said Wednesday that between extreme dry weather, then the rain, temporarily patched potholes will wash out.
“It just further deteriorates the potholes. We will survey them in dry weather to see how bad things have been washed out,” he said. “We’ll have to fill them in with asphalt.”
For Frieda though, he’s more disappointed in the apathy of Duncan citizens.
“I”m not upset with those who voted against it. I’m disappointed with those who didn’t vote or cast a ballot. Obviously, the ones who voted felt strongly about how the money should be spent.”
Frieda said he will continue to recommend to the city council members that the city avoid incurring more debt on this topic.
“What we did not anticipate, with the long time we took to get this out to the public, we did not expect such a low turnout. Less than 10 percent of voters came out. It reflects the apathy of the citizens.”
For Chris Deal, Duncan Chamber of Commerce & Industry president, he too said the vote reflected the community’s attitude about the proposed property tax.
“My personal recommendation, in having experience with the school bond issues, is hoping it will be re-evaluated,” Deal said.
Capital Improvement Plans are something Deal is very familiar with and having a viable infrastructure of solid streets, particularly arterial feeds that connect retail industry to the other parts of the city is something that everyone should be concerned with.
“Our investment into ourselves speaks volumes,” he said. Deal said that most everyone was aware of the argument of the election proposal being a property tax versus sales tax issue.
Duncan does bring in outside sales tax dollars, with people coming from Lawton, Ardmore and even Wichita Falls, Texas, to spend their money here, and had it been a sales tax issue, more people would be helping to pay for the road and street improvements, he said. But, on the flip side, it also means if the sales tax base goes up, those same people, and even local consumers, would take their pocketbooks to other communities.
Studies have found that a community with a rating of 1 in terms of economic stability are doing well, he shared. Duncan has a 1.37 rating, meaning that money is coming into the area, Deal said.
“Our retail shows a large amount of people bring their dollars into Duncan. That’s one reason our roads are important,” he said. Unfortunately though, the tax base whether it is Duncan or the state of Oklahoma as a whole, is not large enough to support the miles of roads, including those within this community, he said.
“The city will recover from this, it’s not the end of the world and our economic future doesn’t hinge on it. The people didn’t like the bond issue as proposed.”
Deal applauded the city for at least attempting to host town hall meetings to inform the public, and he, like others, wonders about revisiting the issue.
“Democracy has become a spectator sport. You would hope for better turnout,” Deal said.
Lyle Roggow, President of Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF), said the failed issue also doesn’t strongly affect the manufacturing sector.
“We always want the community to look good and when you take individuals through, you take them on maintained streets,” he said Thursday. “Our manufacturing industry remains strong, so it generates sales tax to import revenue into the community, which makes the community strong.”
He said having the manufacturing sector provides good paying jobs and that while people are gainfully employed with such jobs, they, in turn, spend their incomes in their community.
- Local News
Note To Readers Regarding 3-12 Duncan Banner
You may have noticed that there were no sports pages in the March 12, 2014, edition of The Duncan Banner. I apologize to you for that.
There were multiple instances of the power going out at The Duncan Banner office Tuesday night as the pages were put together. This prevented us from finalizing pages 5, 6 and 7, which are normally Sports pages in the Wednesday edition. Power was not fully restored until about 1:30 a.m., at which point the decision was made to go forward with pages that had been sent to press rather than not have a newspaper at all
County to seek bids for fairgrounds expansion project
Expansion of the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center may get underway as early as this summer.
The Stephens County commissioners, joined by fairgrounds director Mike Anderson, discussed the expansion project during their meeting Monday. The commissioners approved going out for bids to see how much it would cost to build another building the same size as the Expo Arena and to relocate the South Stall Barn south to the outdoor stalls.
Lane suspects back in court Wednesday
The preliminary hearing in the death of Australian native Christopher Lane will continue on Wednesday for three Duncan teenagers charged in the fatal shooting.
The hearing, which began on Feb. 4 but was recessed until Wednesday, will determine if there is sufficient evidence for the cases against the suspects to be taken to trial.
Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 18 face first-degree murder charges in the Aug. 16, 2013, death of Lane, who shot while jogging in the afternoon at Country Club Road near Twilight Beach.
Vehicle burglars strike seven times
A string of seven car burglaries over the weekend has prompted Duncan police to urge residents to lock up their vehicles and take valuables inside at night.
Four car thefts were reported in Duncan on Sunday and three were reported Saturday, with over $1,000 worth of items and cash stolen from vehicles.
City council to discuss projects, half-cent sales tax
City Manager Jim Frieda hopes to give Duncan City Council members an idea of how much money the city would get from continuation of the city’s half-cent economic development sales tax.
Council members will meet at 5:15 p.m. today in the council chambers at 720 W. Willow.
Infrastructure projects, including street improvements and water conservation efforts, are on the agenda for discussion.
Lt. Gov. Lamb says he’ll look at governorship when Fallin finished
Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, a Rebublican from Enid, made his formal announcement for re-election this week and made a campaign swing through Stephens County. He stopped by the Duncan Banner last week for a chat with news editor Steve Olafson. Here’s how it went:
Waurika reshuffles City Hall lineup
With the city manager now on administrative leave, members of the Waurika City Commission wanted someone to steer the ship, and they found that person Monday when Brad Scott was hired as acting city manager.
In addition, following a one-hour executive session, the four members of the commission named City Treasurer Nancy Bluml as assistant city manager.
Waurika City Commissioners reinstate Brown
Chuck Brown was somewhat surprised early last week when the Waurika City Commissioners voted to terminate him from the position of city manager.
Brown was very surprised four days later to learn he had been “un-terminated” and restored to the city manager position.
Awards handed out at livestock show
Winners were announced and students walked away vests and plaques at the end of the week-long 76th annual Stephens County Junior Livestock Show, which ended Friday.
Following the award ceremony, the premium sale began as livestock was auctioned off.
Stephens County Fair Board secretary Kathy Shorter said funds for the sale are gathered through the different clubs in support of the students in the competition.
School boards to meet Monday
Bray-Doyle, Central High and Velma-Alma public schools will meet at their respective superintendents’ offices at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Velma-Alma’s school board will discuss possible re-employment of certified teachers and staff for next school year and possible approval of a senior trip to Medieval Times in May
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- Note To Readers Regarding 3-12 Duncan Banner