Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Beer and Bullets: OKC Council Expenditures Cover a Wide Range of Items

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Beer and Bullets: OKC Council Expenditures Cover a Wide Range of Items

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma City Council this week agreed to make $100,000 worth of beer available for purchase at the city's public golf courses, in addition to another $100,000 approved through a second vendor last month.

Also, $150,000 will be set aside to provide sign-language translation services for hearing-impaired residents this new fiscal year, the council decided, while a pricing target of $180,000 was approved to buy sports, games, martial arts and aquatic equipment.

"It's always surprising to me what will catch someone's eye," Oklahoma City Finance Director Laura Johnson said of the recent council agenda items. "We have hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in purchases for supplies and services and somebody will invariably pull up some minutiae like cat-carrying boxes and ask questions like, 'Are these reusable? Did we get the plastic kind or metal kind?' And it would just crack me up. ... Because we buy a lot of stuff and one little thing will catch someone's attention."

The city provides more odds and ends for residents than most people would expect, Johnson said, and even normal repairs and supplies can prove surprising. In the case of the animal shelter, for example, the city needs to buy dog and cat food, medicine, veterinary services and even boxes to carry adopted cats. Adoption fees help recoup some of those expenses. The council agreed recently that up to $60,000 could be spent on vet services this year.

Sign-language translation services are usually employed at the city court system. The sports equipment is used through the Play in the Park program for children.

Then there's $250,000 set aside for ammunition for police officers this year - "a lot of bullets," Johnson said. Police spent nearly that amount last year, she added.

"It's rare that an officer will use his weapon in the line of duty, fortunately. …

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