(March 7, 2006) – The City has accelerated work on General Obligation Bond-funded projects with the Public Works Department delivering $45 million dollars in projects since July 1, the start of the 2005-2006 Fiscal Year. The department is thus far meeting a challenge from City Manager Jim Couch to complete $60 million in projects funded from the $340 million GO Bond Issue approved by voters on December 12, 2000 by the end of the Fiscal Year on June 30, 2006.
Two-thirds of those projects are now complete.
Accelerating the speed of completion involved departmental changes instituted by Dennis Clowers, whom Couch hired as Public Works Director/City Engineer last year. Clowers assumed the job September 30 and named Laura Story, PE, as the City's first G.O. Bond Program Manager. A G.O. Bond Oversight Committee was also created to track progress on the unfinished projects.
City leaders are in the earliest planning stages for the next G.O. Bond issue which could be put to a citizen vote in December, 2007. Streets and drainage are typically high-priority items for bond issues, and the recent citizen survey, while showing an overall high level of satisfaction with City services, also showed citizens want more maintenance and repair of City streets.
Citizen support and confidence in City government resulted in unprecedented voter approval for a wide range of visionary and needed capital investments in Oklahoma City.
Beginning with the MAPS election in 1993, voters have approved every ballot measure, including the largest capital improvements bond project in City history and a major initiative to rebuild and renew the Oklahoma City public school system. In all, City voters have approved more than $1.5 billion of public improvement projects in the last decade.
Even so, Oklahoma City residents are at about half the national average in G.O. Bond debt per capita.
Under Oklahoma law, the City is allowed to use property tax only for G.O. Bonds and other capital improvement projects. The City cannot use property taxes for day-to-day operating expenses.
The City gets only about 14% of the revenue by residents' property tax. The rest goes to libraries, vo-tech and public schools.