The audience will be given an opportunity to write questions of concern for the candidates.
Public Safety Sales Tax: The Public Safety Sales Tax, commonly known as the PSST, will be on the ballot as a proposition for renewal. The special tax is designated for public safety uses only and funds police and firefighter positions.
The tax also has paid for two new fire stations, stations No. 8 and 9, and has provided funding for key equipment to aid police and fire operations.
“We have a success story that the Public Safety Sales Tax has done everything promised and more in the city of Norman,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “PSST II will continue, with additional accountability, to do what we said we will do.”
The PSST is not a new sales tax and, if approved by voters, will continue at the same rate of one-half percent.
Originally approved as a temporary sales tax by voters in 2008, the tax supports 71 police and fire positions. If renewed, the tax will continue to support those positions, as well as 19 additional positions including 13 school resource police officers, four emergency dispatchers and two emergency vehicle mechanics.
Norman Public Schools will assist with the funding of the school resource officers.
The PSST will fund specific capital needs, including an emergency communications system, an emergency operations and dispatch facility, fire trucks and apparatus, and the relocation of Fire Station No. 5 to improve response times to that coverage area.
If approved, the special sales tax will become permanent.
Ballot language on the proposition may be a little confusing to some voters. Once the designated capital projects have been completed (in an estimated 12 years), 3/8 percent of the tax collected will go into the Public Safety line item account in the general fund to support those 91 fire and police positions permanently.