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Local News

June 23, 2013

Back to the pavement, workshop set for street issue

DUNCAN — The Duncan City Council is starting over to determine what direction it should take to finance improvements to the city streets.

The council will have a special workshop meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City Hall Conference Room. Council members will discuss the best alternatives to financing the street reconstruction project.

“The streets are going to continue to deteriorate,” City Manager Jim Frieda said. “I don’t think people can ignore that daily. We have to push on, find a way to fix that.”

Frieda said there are three financing options to improve the city streets. The first is a general obligation bond, which would increase ad valorem for property owners.

The next is a revenue bond, which would increase the city’s debt. And the last alternative is a sales tax, which could put the overall sales tax in Duncan above 9 percent.

On May 14, the City of Duncan attempted a general obligation bond to improve nearly 255 street segments in Duncan. A total of 1,507 people voted with 889 or 58.99 percent of people voting against the bond issue.

“One thing is we want to get the word out more than the last bond issue,” Frieda said. “It was promoted in the paper. We talked about it during city council. And we went to civic meetings to discuss it. The turnout was exceptionally low.”

In 2007, the city also attempted other financing alternatives, including a sales tax. But those alternatives were also unsuccessful in paying for the street repairs.

He said his biggest concern about doing a revenue bond is the amount of money it will add to the city’s debt. He said one of the city’s primary objectives is to reduce the city’s debt, which is something Frieda would like to see.

“We have a higher debt than when I started as city manager three years ago,” he said.

Frieda said the city will have to go back to the beginning to determine the best method to getting the streets repaired. He said the workshop will be beneficial as the council moves forward on the project.

“The city does not have the benefit of discussing options outside of a council meeting,” Frieda said. “The council really doesn’t have opportunities to discuss the options. That’s why we’re doing the workshop. It’s a whole new setup. We’re starting at the bottom line and working our way through.”

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