Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Additional Sales Tax Levy Considered by City Council

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Additional Sales Tax Levy Considered by City Council

Article excerpt

An additional sales tax levy to improve public safety programs was considered Thursday by the Oklahoma City Council during a retreat in Guthrie.

The two options presented would provide for a 3/4 cent sales tax levy over five years that would fund the new programs proposed by the chief of police and fire chief and contribute to the general fund of both departments or provide for a 1/2 cent sales tax levy that would only fund the new programs.

Chief of Police R.V. Wilder presented a plan for new police programs that would cost $45 million over five years. This would provide for needed expansion of police personnel and capital improvements, Wilder said.

The program is broken down to $2.4 million for facility improvements, $3.9 million for equipment, $10.2 million for vehicles.

The plan would add 175 new officers to the police force, which would bring the number of officers per 1,000 citizens from 1.8 to 2.1, Wilder said. This is the average for cities the size of Oklahoma City, he said.

Acting Fire Chief Tom Smith presented a proposal that would provide $38.5 million including $6.5 million for new facilities, $9 million for vehicle replacement, $2.7 million for firefighting tools and equipment and $13.2 million for staffing over the next five years.

The plan includes five new fire stations, one of which would be built each year, at the following locations: SW 15 St. and Mustang Rd.; NW 93 St. and Council Rd.; SW 134th St. and S. May Ave., SE 104 St. and Peebly Rd.; and NW 164th St. and N Penn Ave.

Ward 1 Councilman I.G. Purser said that in studying the issue, he found that other cities have four- or five-man units and suggested adding 170 men to the fire department staff, which would cost $7 million over the next five years.

Fire Chief Smith said the plan targets areas with inadequate fire protection and would later address issues such as adding more staff to existing stations. …

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