The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 18, 2014

Reasonable expectations for city officials

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Norman voters do not expect their elected or appointed city officials to be perfect, but they do expect them to keep their word, especially when their promises are in writing. When such promises are altered afterwards, mistrust takes hold.

Two cases in point are the Lindsey Street widening project with the after-the-vote attempt to install a roundabout at Berry Road. The projected cost for the roundabout was estimated to be “about a million dollars more” and included land acquisitions at the intersection. The second case is the questionable shifting of the North Side Treatment Plant money into the south side renovation, depleting all the money in the NST fund. The voters approved a clear project, not an “adjustment” by shifting money afterwards to the south side, and certainly not yet a new fund to replace the NST money when they need to build the plant arises.

Council shifted the money without returning to the voters for approval. Reasoning given was that Norman’s water system “all flows together.”

The two particular situations, and others, point to a disturbing trend that the city should address before voters are asked to pass another public project. Promising the voters a result through ballot language, brochures, mailers or public pronouncements and then delivering something different is not uncommon and unacceptable.

BARRY MCCARROLL

Norman

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