The Norman Transcript

Letters

January 5, 2014

Public Safety Sales Tax not the way to reward city employees

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Having a great deal of respect for Mr. Metscher, does not preclude me from profoundly disagreeing with him on his recent letter concerning the Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST).

Speaking as the lone councilmember who asked for alternatives to laying of 26 non-uniformed employees in 2010, I understand the tremendous value those employees give our community. 

I also agree that they perform public safety functions that keep us safe and healthy. 

However, Ted’s attack on the uniformed unions is not only misplaced but also not relevant to this issue. They have not even joined the conversation on the renewal of the tax. I don’t think it is helpful to anyone to attempt raise one group at the expense of another.  What we need is something that helps us all, I think the PSST does just that. 

The PSST has never been about salaries and never should be. It is about staffing levels for police and fire which were demonstrably very low before the 71 positions were filled. Secondarily it was about paying for capital projects on a pay-go basis and avoiding General Obligation (G.O.) bond which raise your property taxes.

Language was carefully crafted to keep overages from unfairly boosting one group’s salary over another’s. The citizens on the PSST committee have repeatedly and emphatically instated that the proceeds of the tax only go to police and fire safety, as that was a clear promise in the original tax.

I have heard repeatedly from my constituents that they do not want the PSST to be a “slush fund” for any General Fund activity. Keep it specific, they tell me.

I tend to agree and I think the current proposal is specific and keeps those tax dollars specified for Public Safety segregated from other functions.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
  • League of Women Voters meeting

    Editor, The Transcript: On Saturday, May 10, the Norman League of Women Voters will hold its annual meeting at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 601 24th Ave. SW, Norman, OK, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm....

    April 12, 2014

  • Frackers should use gray water

    Editor, The Transcript: As reported by Joe Wertz in the March 31 issue of StateImpact Oklahoma, Finley Resources, a Texas-based oil drilling company, has arranged with the city of Norman to buy Norman’s drinking water from hydrants to use ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Columnists have it wrong

    Editor, The Transcript: I typically enjoy Class Act (the Q&A with school counselors published on Fridays) very much. I think they bring a rational and empathetic response to parents’ concerns when it comes to the challenges students and ...

    April 8, 2014

  • An unfortunate response

    Editor, The Transcript: On April 1, the citizens of Norman voted to approve the renewed PSST and to make it permanent by a narrow margin of 3,798 for versus 3,660 against. As a result of this vote, Mayor Rosenthal stated in The Norman ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Apathy and lack of understanding may doom universal health care

    Editor, The Transcript: Enrollments in the federal and state health exchanges were higher than expected and late enrollments are expected, yet people still contend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not going to be successful....

    April 6, 2014

  • The Medieval Fair as a measure of human progress

    Editor, The Transcript: This upcoming weekend we are invited to “Step back in time for a day of revels at the Medieval Fair. Enjoy mirth and merriment with kings, queens, knights and fools as the kingdom comes alive.” It’s an opportunity ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Acts of kindness still alive

    Editor, The Transcript: Random acts of kindness may be an overused phrase, but when kindnesses happen to your family, it is great to know it is alive and well....

    April 4, 2014

  • Property tax increase needed

    Editor, The Transcript: Household and government budgets are necessary to keep spending on track. Voters’ choices can determine the direction of budget cuts and adjustments. Always vote smart....

    April 2, 2014

  • What a friendly city, community

    Editor, The Transcript: A couple of weeks ago while traveling through Norman, my two small children and I had to make an unexpected stop in Norman to have our van repaired. Although we were “stranded” in a sense, I can’t think of a ...

    April 2, 2014

  • Public needs renewal

    Editor, The Transcript: As a professional first responder, I live each day knowing how critically important a sound public safety communications system is. In Norman, I have the privilege of serving with the great men and women of ...

    April 1, 2014