By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman residents may soon be voting on an increase of the city’s motel/hotel tax. The Norman City Council is expected to approve putting the increase on the upcoming April 2 ballot. In addition, the council is expected to approve a contract to build Legacy Park and will discuss proposals for curbside recycling during Tuesday’s meetings.
Norman’s Transient Guest Room Tax Ordinance was first adopted in 1980 with voters approving an excise tax of four percent. These funds are designated to be used “exclusively for the purpose of encouraging, promoting and fostering the convention and tourism development of the City of Norman,” according to city staff notes.
Now, 30 years later, the city council has studied tax rates in other cities and likely will ask voters to approve raising the tax from four percent to five percent. If voters approve the measure on April 2, the new tax will become effective on May 1.
On Tuesday’s consent agenda, a contract for $5,897,900 with CGC, LLC for the Legacy Park Construction Project will be considered by the city council. CGC’s base bid includes the park entry drive with enhancements and portals, an amphitheater stage, cover and seating area, a 1-acre pond with programmable fountains, a promenade walk around the pond, and a restroom, as well as walkways and trails and arbor structures along the west side park area, including landscaping, irrigation and pedestrian lighting, according to city staff notes.
Some additional amenities and enhancements will be included as well. Landscaping and trail improvements around the upper perimeter of the detention facility west of Academy Outdoor Sports will not be included at this time. Staff was directed by council members “to seek alternative funding options for these items in cooperation with the developer or to bring them back as a change order item if it appears sufficient funding remains closer to the end of the Legacy Park construction project,” according to staff notes.
The city council also rejected an option for cascading water features on both sides of the stage area with a cost of $865,000. Other fountain enhancements will be considered for the Legacy Park pond’s fountains instead.
Legacy Park will be funded from proceeds drawn from the Norman Tax Increment Finance Authority.
Council members also will discuss contract options for curbside recycling at Tuesday’s non-voting 5:30 p.m. Council Conference meeting. Contract proposals were received on Jan. 10 and city leaders will discuss associated costs and contract options including the possibility of an in-house option.
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