Oklahoma City

OKC City Council approves $1.6 billion budget with increases for police – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-06-08 18:40:29 –

Oklahoma City (Free press) — The Oklahoma City City Council directly voted 7 to 2 on the $ 1.6 billion budget proposed for fiscal years 2021-2022 (fiscal year 22) starting July 1.

This happened after some people protested the value revealed in the proportion of the proposed budget allocated to items such as police budgets.

The council also approved a significant federal-backed loan to the First National Project in Downtown and amended the service contract between Oklahoma City Blue and Oklahoma City Thunder’s professional basketball team.

Government by columnist Marty Piercy

budget

At the final round of this year’s budget deliberation at the city hall, the city council was asked to adopt the 2010 budget.

Budget Director Doug Dowler gave a brief presentation on the proposed $ 1,648.600,000 budget package. Mayor Holt kindly revealed to us in the press room during the meeting that it could be $ 1.6 billion, but that spending is expected to be $ 1 billion.

Downer explained that 63% of the total budget’s general revenue expenditure falls under “public security.”

Over a dozen uniformed armed police officers occupy most of the public seats during the meeting, as if to emphasize that percentage, and at first glance to show off their armed forces, and the final police. I left only after the budget item was passed.

John George Police Union President and Vice President Marc Nelson sat in the front row throughout the meeting.

Two members of the board talked about why they didn’t support the budget.

Outreach was criticized

District 6 Assembly member JoBeth Hamon * spoke about Oklahoma City and the cultural moments that the country is actually facing. According to Hamon, since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last year, our community has had the opportunity to rethink the concept of public safety. If it is a document, he said the budget indicates that Oklahoma City was unable to respond at this moment.

police
Oklahoma City Police Headquarters, 700 Couch Drive. (Brett Dickerson / Okla City Free Press)

Hamon gave two examples of local nonprofits that made a difference in the community without city funding.

Under the umbrella of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health (Hamon’s employer) and funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), ION has formed an outreach team. The organization has been working to collect resources that can accommodate more than 100 people over a long period of time with few vouchers and a long waiting list, with three staff members.

The organization’s mental health program serves people with severe mental illness in Oklahoma City. Hamon said it had great results. By providing comprehensive services and resources, we have reduced the number of return visits to the Oklahoma City Crisis Management Center by 90%. Not only did they do this without city funding, but they also saved the city considerable money while doing so.

Hamon said the $ 300,000 designated as an undecided “alternative mental health measure” is far from meeting the needs of our community.

“While spending more than $ 1 million to uphold the ordinance that criminalizes poverty,” Hamon said of a very unpopular begging ordinance passed in 2016. Ultimately, OKC taxpayers can be costly.

“The safest community is not the one with the most police, but the one with the most resources,” Hamon said. “I am very sorry that the city did not deal with this.”

Financing oversight criticized

District 7 Rep. Nikki Nice also expressed a number of concerns about the budget.

In a private conversation, according to Nice, over the past few months she has sought to oversee and be accountable for the city-funded “Progress OKC” program.

In particular, Nice has expressed dissatisfaction with her request not to include the city-funded “Keiba” program in the city’s budget.

“We haven’t monitored Progress OKC yet,” she argued against the cheeky reaction of city manager Craig Freeman.

Nice later said: She mentioned that she has a budget for the reconstruction of the Human Rights Commission. According to Nice, the commission was a few years ago, fearing that the LGBTQ community in Oklahoma City would become more and more prominent. It is said that it was disbanded.

“One OKC”

Nice goes on to say that the Springlake Division, the police station that controls his ward, has seven commanders since he was elected in 2018.

She only learned of the change after calling the person she thought was the commander, telling him he wasn’t there anymore, and telling who to contact instead. She was not officially informed about this change.

“If you need” one OKC “, you need to build one OKC. Nice summary. “We need to build better relationships.”

Race history

Second Ward Assembly member James Cooper began speaking in a 10-minute clip of the Neighborhood Alliance documentary. In the video, Dr. Bob Blackburn of the Oklahoma Historical Society recently explained the role of racial relations in the construction of the city’s neighborhood.

After an inspiring history lesson, Cooper spoke about the importance of considering our history and choosing where to go next.

Cooper then said he would support the budget. His reason seemed to be based primarily solely on the $ 1.3 million allocated to the police. This includes $ 300,000 allocated to unknown alternative mental health measures.

None of the other board members spoke about budget support.

Despite these concerns and the overwhelming majority of comments from the general public during budget hearings last year, including the board meeting on Tuesday, the budget was passed 7-2, only Hamon and Nice opposed. I cast a vote.

First national

Is Remodeling and restoration Construction of the old First National Bank building at 120 North Robinson Avenue in downtown has been underway for many years. The finished work is called “The National”. The project is quite advanced, but there is still a lot to do.

The board received a presentation on the history of the project and its progress so far.

Magnificent building rejuvenation includes 600 units of parking, over 100 units of hotels and housing. Housing incurs ad valorem tax and hotels incur consumption tax.

Developer Gary Brooks told the council that the project would create more than 200 jobs.

Bank Hall-First National Center-OKC
Bank Hall-First National Center, just beginning construction in 2017. (File, BRETT DICKERSON / Okla City Free Press)

Unlike most hotels, which typically have bars and restaurants, the First National project has seven bars and restaurants, and two ballrooms that can accommodate about 400 people. This creates more jobs than a typical hotel of the same size.

The project is eligible for a $ 11 million low-interest loan from the city through the Federal Section 108 Loan Program.

This lending program is guaranteed by the HUD, allowing the city to provide “downstream” low-interest loans to housing development as the community develops.

However, the project will eventually need to produce 220 jobs. Otherwise, the developer will eventually have to repay some of the money.

Nice and Hamon asked how this project would help low- and middle-income people.

Brooks explained that since the start of the project, he has focused on hiring people through employment programs such as Oklahoma City’s substance use recovery program, First Steps.

Brooks said he is funding the Rose State University asbestos reduction program and hiring graduates to work on the project.

In addition, Brooks is working with the Homeless Alliance and its program, the Curveside Chronicle, to open up employment opportunities.

The board unanimously approved the loan.

basketball

The same week that Oklahoma City residents learned that the city was paying parking fees for Thunder’s game season ticket holders, an amendment and addendum to the Oklahoma City downtown arena license agreement was made by the Council on Tuesday. Submitted to.

City officials explained that the educational league basketball team Oklahoma City Blue had to be relocated to another facility as part of leasing what was formerly known as the Cox Convention Center to Prairie Winds Studios. Evacuation of the team was expected to cost more than initially, but was reduced to $ 62,900 by negotiation. Half of that cost will be reimbursed by the new tenant of the original facility.

The second part of the contract change reflects the absence of some ticket holders from the previous season and the previous season, during which time play was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are refunds paid to the city from the Professional Basketball Club, LLC for each match, but if no fans had tickets in the arena, they would have had to be significantly reduced.

For a typical game with a stand full of fans buying kiosk and souvenirs, refunds often reach over $ 40,000. They were negotiated up to $ 2,100 per game.

The amendment was unanimously approved.

The city council will reunite at 8:30 am on June 22nd.


* Note: 6th ward council member JoBeth Hamon is married to Marty Peercy.


Become a supporter and maintain journalism

Oklahoma City Free Press is dedicated to providing high quality journalism that has a positive impact on the community.Click this LinkTo support our mission.


Last updated: June 8, 2021, 5:40 pm Brett Dickerson-Editor

OKC City Council approves $1.6 billion budget with increases for police Source link OKC City Council approves $1.6 billion budget with increases for police

Back to top button