Letter to the Editor

I wonder if any other Lawton citizens are getting the feeling that our city leaders have, if not champagne tastes, at least good wine tastes on a beer budget. I'm all for Lawton being a shining star of the southwest but at what cost. The Mayor and council must remember that their first responsibility is to be good stewards of the citizens' money.

We've OK'd the new CIP, hotel/motel tax increase, extended the sales tax and are at once a week trash pickup with no recycling program for a $400,000 per year savings. It is also predicted sales tax receipts will trend higher.

Now there is a proposed utility rate increase. It sounds like it would only amount to a couple dollars a month but I have the feeling that for a family of 4 and all that goes with that it will amount to more. I believe one council member stated that the increase in the rolling stock fee would only amount to $168,000 per year and would only purchase 2 or 3 pickup trucks. Those would be some nice trucks. Much nicer than my 11-year-old single cab.

I am proud that we have a new safety center. I would like to see some needed positions added if possible. Certainly maintenance needs to be kept up on the "rolling stock".

At the same time I question the several consultants that seem to be hired for various issues like parks, economic development and the industrial park, the new city owned mall etc.

I also am concerned about sinking another several million dollars into more remodeling of a 100-year-old plus city hall. I would be interested in knowing the cost of utilities and maintenance for that building.

Remember, as citizens, we have little say in these increases. We don't vote on them. There is no competition. We must buy the water, sewer, refuse collection from the city. I'm also sure being the mayor or on the council is a thankless job. Lawton is not a rich city and I'm afraid this could be just the beginning of more proposed rate hikes. As you, the council, discuss the options and decisions please keep in mind that all of us have a budget we must adhere to in our personal lives. Thank You

Paul Looper