The Duncan Banner


December 8, 2013

City’s new budget our plan for future

DUNCAN — All eyes should be focused on members of the Duncan City Council and its professional staff as work continues in putting together a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

It is an important document.

It is a large document.

It is an expensive document.

It affects us all.

The project of months of hard work and preparation, detailed evaluation and study, the final budget will outline plans and projects for all departments in the new year, providing something of a report card on the past 12 months and offering a snapshot of where the community is and what lies ahead.

Before city leaders can appropriately address the day-to-day operations of city government, they must deal with a cumbersome employee pension plan that is inadequately funded and drains valuable monetary resources each year.

Before city leaders can move forward, they must reassess their position on a $50 million long-term that adds real expense to city residents and handcuffs attempts to progressively deal with improved quality-of-life issues once considered the norm.

Before city leaders can focus on personnel and services, they must prioritize the need for long-term solutions to adequate, affordable and available water, sorely needed street repairs and infrastructure improvements and similar issues of great concern that, left untouched, can wreck whatever comfort plans seem necessary.

It is important city leaders embrace a sense of stability for the “now” before they delve into the future. It is important they regain the trust of an entire citizenry. And it is important they convince citizens only after all options have been pursued will additional charges or price increases be passed along.

This year’s budget cannot be a political document aimed at pleasing special interest groups. It must be a business document with achievable goals and specific plans that outline a path to reaching or even exceeding those aspirations.

Returning our city to a plateau of excellence we once enjoyed is a legitimate target. Providing a level of services that make Duncan special is a compatible component.

Hard questions about staffing levels, benefits, operational schedules, services and support and capital commitments merit attention as a solid base, not just for 2014, but beyond.

  Fortunately, there is good leadership in place at vital positions. The ability of those people to construct a plan others will follow may be more critical than ever.

The 2013 budget needed $61 million. On a package that large, dealing with amounts of money uncommon in personal management, it is easy to get careless or to spend loosely. Early estimates are the 2014 plan will require less. That’s a good, and even impressive, sign.

Efforts to streamline, to plan reasonably, to spend intelligently, to manage well and to maintain a strict sense of accountability not only protects city monies, it creates a resource pool capable of meeting unexpected problems or additional opportunities as they become a necessity or an option.

Further, it sets a good example and offers a proper guide for local businesses, agencies, organizations and individuals to follow. And it embraces a vision necessary for us all to understand.

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  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014


Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
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