We were heartened to learn that City of Lawton officials have called a public meeting to get input from citizens on a proposal to fund new projects in the city.
The council has been hearing presentations from the mayor and other city leaders for several weeks on various projects. Those projects range from rebuilding a sewer line in south Lawton to updating waterlines throughout the city to building an indoor youth sports complex to dedicating funds for economic development.
So far the price tag on all the projects is close to $70 million. In order to fund those projects, the suggestion has been made to extend the 2015 Sales Tax Extension and the 2016 Capital Improvements Program past their end date of Dec. 31, 2025.
It is not feasible to fund all of those projects now, so city officials need guidance.
Council members have asked very few questions about the projects or proposed funding method. Until now, no input has been sought from the general public.
But a community meeting scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Monday in Lawton City Hall will give Lawton residents an opportunity to give their input. Citizens may ask questions about the various projects and the proposed funding method.
Time is of the essence because a special City Council meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday for council members to discuss and possibly vote on the proposed projects and the idea in general. Officials are trying to get the specifics of the plan nailed down in time for the issue to go before the voters in January. According to state law, the ballot proposition must be given to the county election board 60 days before the election. So a decision must be made quickly in order to hold the election in January.
Whether to proceed with the plan, what projects to include and how to fund them are all decisions that will impact and guide our city for the next decade or so. Therefore citizen input is vital.
Voters will have the final say, but input is needed now on crafting the proposal. So please, attend the meeting, become informed on the proposal and let your city council representative know how you want the city to proceed.