The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 25, 2014

Safety capital call

NORMAN — The city’s police and fire departments have come out with a list of four critical public safety capital needs that would be financed by an extension of the half-cent sales tax. Council members will vote on calling a general election on the question Tuesday night.

All of the projects come with ball-park price estimates, totaling $31.8 million. The emergency communications system is the largest. It is projected to cost $15 million and the dispatch center to house it another $6.5 million.

Replacing firefighting equipment is budgeted at $6.8 million and relocation of Fire Station No. 5 should cost about $3.5 million.

The 10-year extension of the half-percent tax is expected to generate $11 million in the first year and $16 million per year by 2025. The estimates project the local economy will grow by about 4.5 percent over the next decade.

The renewal proposal calls for continuing to pay salaries and benefits for the 71 new firefighters and police officers. Additionally, it would add 13 police officers who would work inside Norman Public Schools, as well as add four dispatchers and two mechanics.

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