NORMAN — City of Norman council and mayoral candidates addressed several key issues Monday night at City Hall during the first public safety forum ever held.
While it was unanimous that everyone was in favor of continuing the Public Safety Sales Tax, there was some debate about whether it should be held at a half-cent sales tax, and whether or not it should be temporary or permanent.
Council member candidates Roger Gallagher, Lynne Miller, Dave Spaulding, Stephen Holman, Linda Lockett and mayoral candidate Cindy Rosenthal were all in favor of keeping the sales tax at half of a cent.
“I support the continuation,” Lockett, incumbent for Ward 7 said. “I’d hate to say forever.”
Lockett said continued support is needed for the firefighters and police to do their job with adequate equipment.
“Talk is cheap, it takes money to ride the bus,” Spaulding, incumbent for Ward 5 said.
Spaulding said he didn’t believe the tax needed to be permanent but it should be extended for a fixed term for equipment needs. During the forum he said from what he understands, the fire department doesn’t even have a fire tanker right now.
“From early on, I said I was committed to early renewal (of the tax),” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal said she would like to hear more debate about making the tax permanent and believes it should be renewed at half of a cent and no less than that.
Rosenthal’s running mates for the mayoral seat, Thomas Sherman and David Kempf, both said they support the tax, but believed it should be cut to a quarter cent tax.
Sherman said he believed cutting it to a quarter cent tax would give some tax payers relief. Kempf’s reasons were that he believed a quarter cent tax would be adequate enough to fund police and fire needs.