The Norman Transcript

Government

January 26, 2014

Public safety still a top concern for city council

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Perhaps most importantly, the PSST Oversight Committee agreed that the city has fulfilled its obligation in how it spends its money.

“The city did what it said it would do. We spent the money on public safety,” Burns said.

Despite some disagreement on when the vote should occur and whether the tax should be temporary or permanent, the committee strongly supports the primary elements of the tax renewal.

“Our common denominator here is we want this,” said Malaka Elyazgi, committee member.

It is uncertain how heavily those recommendations will sway city council members as they struggle to finalize details — or postpone details if an August vote is selected. The splits in the PSST committee over an April or August vote and over whether the tax should be temporary or permanent represent splits in the city council and in the city at large.

The Norman Chamber of Commerce and the Builders Association of Central Oklahoma have spoken in favor of an August vote.

“From my perspective, there is no problem with April. At the time, we felt they were only looking at one track, the 10-year temporary tax,” said Chamber President John Woods. “Since the last public meeting, council has been more open to alternatives. If they come up with an alternative that works and is more fiscally responsible than the current one, that’s OK.”

Woods said the most important thing to the business community is that the city “get it right” whatever that is. If the proposition is ready by April, that’s fine, he said.

“The most relevant issue is the permanency of the tax,” Woods said.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to continue discussing the sales tax renewal.  The ordinance to put the tax on the ballot will formally be considered at the regular 6:30 city council meeting on Tuesday night.

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