All four Norman General Obligation Bond Proposals failed Tuesday night in the Aug. 25 election.
Scott Martin, president and CEO of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, said Norman missed a great chance.
“To say we are disappointed is an understatement,” Martin said. “We have missed a golden opportunity. That being said, the voters have spoken, and we will go back to the initial package passed and work to implement it to the best of our ability. Sadly, Norman Forward was caught up in a myriad of other issues facing our community and paid the price.”
Former City Councilor and Unite Norman supporter Robert Castleberry claimed it as a political victory. The group gathered more than 22,000 signatures to unseat Mayor Breea Clark and recall Ward 3 Alison Petrone and Ward 5 Sereta Wilson. The signatures have not yet been verified.
“Unite Norman turned out the vote,” he said. “The silent majority has sent a message. Huge vote of no confidence to (Mayor) Breea (Clark) and company.”
Clark addressed the bond failure and the political climate during Tuesday night’s council meeting.
“To every Norman resident, I want to say thank you whether you agree with me or not,” she said. “Thank for you for the opportunity to serve this city. It is an honor. It can be challenging, but I love every minute of it and I’m not going anywhere.”
Clark said the council would tackle the loss of the funds, the pandemic and other issues facing the city “as a team.”
Darrel Pyle, Norman city manager, said the city will push forward with its mission to improve the quality of life for Norman residents.
“While we are disappointed the bonds did not pass, we will press on with our mission to provide the best quality of life and safety for Norman residence that we can,” Pyle said. “We will move forward with the projects that do have funding at the highest level of service we can provide within their current budgets.”
Dan Schemm, executive director of VisitNorman, said he was disappointed.
“We’ve missed a great opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and improve Norman’s quality of life,” Schemm said. “The voters have spoken though, and VisitNorman will work with the initial Norman Forward package that will be implemented.”
The four rejected bond proposals were:
Proposition 1 would have provided the $85.6 million needed to complete the remaining Norman Forward projects to the needs and desires of the community. These include the Multi-sport/Aquatic Center, Senior Wellness Center, Softball/Football Complex, Ruby Grant Park, Reaves Park and a Parks Maintenance Facility.
It failed to pass with only 41.22% approving the measure and 58.78% against it.
Proposition 2 would have provided $5 million to construct one or more built solutions intended to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Norman. Function and programming would be determined by ongoing studies on homelessness and housing affordability.
The measure was the closest margin of a yes or no vote with 49.19% for it and 50.81% against.
Proposition 3 would have provided $24.3 million needed to renovate and expand the Municipal Complex. These included the Development Center, Municipal Court, Police Department and City Hall renovations, Emergency Operations Center/Dispatch and Fleet and Fire Maintenance Facilities.
It failed to pass with 61.24% no votes and 38.76% yes.
Proposition 4 would have allocated $5 million to a small business relief fund to spur economic and community development in Norman in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular emphasis on marginalized communities, job retention and creation programs
The measure did not survive with 59.05% against and 40.95% in favor.
Mindy Ragan Wood