The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 9, 2014

Let’s start talking

NORMAN — The campaign to extend the city’s half percent public safety sales tax seems to be gearing up. It’s a little over three weeks until the April 1 vote and we’re just now beginning to hear some more serious citizen discussion on the election’s merits. Up until now, the discussion seems to have been reserved for elected officials and those who earn their livings as public servants.

City Council candidate forums begin this week and we expect the vote to be addressed by the nine contenders seeking three council seats.

In Ward 8, only the incumbent, Chad Williams, filed.

Norman voters first approved the PSST in 2008. It provided 71 new police and fire positions as well as construction of Fire Stations No. 8 and 9.

Money from the fund was also spent on the Lindsey Street home to police and fire investigations and other public safety needs.

If voters approve, the tax will become a permanent part of the city’s public safety operations. It would also fund a new communications system, 13 in-school police officers and other police and fire needs.

The council had initially called for a 10-year, temporary tax renewal. However, after some late-night negotiations, it was unanimous in calling for the permanent tax vote on April 1.

Forums are planned for 6 p.m. Monday at the Norman Chamber of Commerce, at 6:30 p.m. March 24 and 27 in the City Council Chambers and 6:30 p.m.

All three have different sponsors and different perspectives so voters have a variety of opportunities to become better informed.

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