The Norman Transcript

Government

January 7, 2014

Residents concerned about details of 10-year renewal of half-cent Public Safety Sales Tax

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“We need to make sure if we’re moving forward with this, we get a yes vote. If it fails, it effects everything we want to do in this community,” he said. “If we don’t move forward appropriately, it puts a lot in jeopardy with what we want to do with this community.”

Rosenthal said the renewal needs to go to voters sooner rather than later because if it is unsuccessful in April, the city will have a year and a half to figure out what to do to meet the public safety needs.

A list of the critical public safety capital needs that the tax money would go toward if a renewal was passed include the following:

· A replacement radio system, $15 million

· Emergency Operation Center or Dispatch Center, $6.5 million

· Replace fire apparatus, $6.8 million

· Relocate Fire Station 5, $3.5 million

The highest priority on the list is the radio system. Humphrey said the system must be replaced by 2018 and is a critical part of emergency services.

Gallagher said since this radio system is for more than just police, fire and EMSStat, public safety shouldn’t have the entire burden of the replacement. With public works, road crews and sanitation using the radio system as well, they should share some of the burden.

“I’d like to see some discussion about that and some acknowledgment and preparation and (be assured) that other departments in the city that will be using that system will be paying their fair share,” Gallagher said.

With a new radio system, the dispatch center must be moved. It is in the city’s best interest that the center be moved to more effectively serve the public, Francisco said. There needs to be some separation of the dispatch center from the municipal complex in the event of a tornado or some other natural disaster, he said.

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