City Council prepares for upcoming bond election, discusses new roads and economic incentives

The Sand Springs City Council met in a regular meeting earlier this month and discussed proposals for an upcoming General Obligation Bond Election. All of the proposals are still in their early stages and will likely be reworded, reorganized, and tweaked before being presented to the public. Council will hold public hearings on the proposals before they are finalized.

Proposal One relates to streets and roadways and in its current form would total $3.565 million. $1.445 million would be directed towards street overlays and repairs, while $2.06 million would be used to construct a new roadway over the levee separating River City Parks from OmniTRAX. 

The new road would help alleviate traffic delays along Wilson Avenue between Morrow Road and US-64. Proposal One would also provide the City with new equipment for overlays, as well as street sign production.

Proposal One passed unanimously, minus Councilman Brian Jackson, who was absent.

Proposal Two relates to Public Safety equipment and software and would total $2.27 million total.

$1.137 million would be used to acquire new safety computer equipment and software. According to Police Chief Mike Carter, the SSPD are having frequent failures with the current software used for recording criminal activity.

The other $1.133 million would be used to replaced a 27-year old ladder truck. According to Fire Chief Mike Wood, the current vehicle is an open cab truck which is unsafe and no longer produced, and only has single-point seat belts. The truck has continued maintenance issues, the internal waterway is extremely corroded and could cost $50,000 to $100,000 to fix. The Aerial Master Stream failed at a mower shop fire a few years ago, there was a motor failure in 2006, and pump failures have also plagued the vehicle. The water tank is too small, the truck is crowded and poorly designed, and it's the only ladder truck in the department. The SSFD has applied for federal grants to replace the truck annually for the last decade but haven't received one yet.

Proposal two passed unanimously.

Proposal Three would provide for a renovation of the clubhouse at the Canyons at Blackjack Ridge golf course. The clubhouse would be redesigned to a more open event center concept. "We're doing well at the golf course and we want to maintain that reputation as one of the better golf courses in the Tulsa area," said Mayor Mike Burdge.

The proposal would also provide for parking lot lighting and electrical work at the Jerry Adair Baseball Complex, as well as Museum improvements, neighborhood park improvements, a new playground at Angus Valley, and neighborhood trail improvements around Pratt Elementary and Clyde Boyd Middle School. 

Part of the funding would be used to build a visitor's center at Keystone Ancient Forest. According to Parks Director Grant Gerondale, current guided hikes are ran off a truck tailgate. The only bathrooms on the premises are port-o-johns. An observation tower would also be built in the forest.

One point of contention around the proposal was $3 million to be used for building a memorial for military, police, and fire. The proposed memorial would include the names of more than 5,000 Oklahoma servicemen and women with a water feature and a fire feature for retiring flags. The memorial would be built in the OmniTRAX development area next to the new City Public Safety facilities. 

While all six council-members were in favor of building a memorial, debate arose surrounding how much should be spent and whether the memorial should stand as an individual proposal.

Ultimately, Councilman Jim Spoon moved that the proposal be approved with the memorial limited to $1 million instead of $3 million. The measure passed 4-2 with Councilwoman Patty Dixon and Councilman Phil Nollan voting against.

Proposal Four totaled $3.2 million and relates to equipment, building upgrades, and software. The funding would provide for the purchase of a commercial track hoe, a bulldozer, a Vactor truck, and city-wide beautification and landscaping. The City's water-treatment facility in particular would receive substantial landscaping improvements. 

Proposal Five regarded economic incentives and land acquisition. Previous economic incentives provided for through bond issues led to the recruiting of Reasor's, Webco, and Wal Mart. 

Proposals Four and Five were passed unanimously, though Councilman Spoon noted that they should consider separating the beautification aspect of Proposal Four into its own item.