The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Opinion

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
Opinion
  • Dancing forward

    The official motto for Mike Fowler’s chairmanship of the Norman Chamber of Commerce is “Moving Norman Forward.” But after Thursday night’s annual banquet, the sub-theme should be, “Let’s Dance, Norman.” More than 500 chamber members and ...

    April 19, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • Local control or not?

    Oklahoma lawmakers are a fickle bunch when it comes to issues of local control. Sometimes they want it and other times they do not....

    April 19, 2014

  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014