Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

First National Center Pact Signed; Time Limit Begins

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

First National Center Pact Signed; Time Limit Begins

Article excerpt

By Nancy Raiden Titus

Journal Record Staff Reporter

A 60-day time limit for modifications on the terms of purchase of the First National Center began Tuesday as State Insurance Fund board members received a proposed contract for the $20 million project.

The board Tuesday also accepted the recommendation of its actuary by voting not to increase workers compensation rates.

Fund Commissioner Michael Clingman has been negotiating the purchase of the historic downtown landmark on behalf of the board since April. He signed the contract, which is subject to board approval, on Tuesday.

The growing fund would use the space to house its employees in one location and would lease the rest as an investment. The purchase would include two-thirds of the center at 120 N. Robinson Ave., including the parking garage and about 626,000 square feet. The cost would include about $5 million for the purchase and $15 million for renovation. The contract board members were given includes a commitment by the City of Oklahoma City to lease space in the facility if private sector tenants could not be found.

Discussion of the rate increase began with a public comment period in which Gov. David Walters was the only speaker. He urged the board not to hike its rates.

The fund action follows a similar decision in June by the Oklahoma State Board for Property and Casualty Rates, which sets the premiums private carriers can charge. That board recognized the need for small increases in the workers compensation line but said the reforms contained in House Bill 1447 adopted in May would provide enough savings to offset those increases.

The state fund is a quasi-state agency that provides roughly half of the workers compensation coverage in Oklahoma. It serves as the insurer of last resort and already charges about 15 percent less than private carriers. …

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