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Carlton Lake

Eastern Oklahoma State College

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Mayor's Article, 20 July 17

City Hall News

         Hello again.  I want to begin this week by congratulating Mrs. Dorothy Coffey for 30 plus years of service to Latimer County as the Administrative Assistant to the Extension Agent at the OSU Extension Office.  Dorothy worked with so many 4-H kids over the years and was an asset to the program. I was delighted to sign a joint Proclamation with the Board of County Commissioners honoring her, and I wish her the very best in retirement.

          The budget has been completed for the next fiscal year... and this year was a difficult one.  The economy all over the state of Oklahoma has been down for quite some time. Cities and towns all over this state have seen cuts across the board.  Several of my colleagues in our area are having to make cuts to get their budgets to work until things turn around.  I hear the city of Oklahoma City had to cut 1.75 million dollars for fire and police to get their budget to balance. The last thing we will do is cut essential services to continue to operate.  Cities and towns in Oklahoma operate off of sales taxes alone as the main income. We do not receive property (ad valorem) or gross production taxes like the state and counties do. So riding this roller coaster of one month being up and the next month down, makes it extremely difficult to operate on and budget for.  Over the past two budget cycles the City of Wilburton has lost about $60,000.00 in sales tax funding. This is a bit alarming because of the projects that we have to fund in the near future.  We need to begin to start stream-lining our process and looking for ways to be more efficient and continue services at a maximum to you the tax payer, while also having to tighten our belt to hopefully avoid any drastic cuts in the future.

         The City Council in last week's meeting made the decision with the budget woes in mind to merge the duties of the City Street Commissioner under the Office of the Mayor. This decision wasn't easy to make; however, with things financially the way that they are, they knew we already had a good crew in place and allowed me to appoint a foreman over the crew to continue to operate normally.  The summer is the busiest time for the Street Department dealing with mowing and spraying ditches.  We have also been working on cutting our bad spots in the streets and capping them with concrete. We also have big plans in the future to start marking un-marked streets with the appropriate signs, as well as changing out the old bleached out street signs and set new poles. After the elementary school project is complete, we plan on doing new asphalt overlay in that area and head East on the North side of town. We will also be working on getting alley's cleaned out and trimmed back. There is a lot of work to be done, and both the Street Department and the Water Maintenance crew have been working together to make your tax dollars go as far as they can.  Things will move forward allowing us to save money in the budget as well as getting everything done that needs to be.  Ronnie Massey was an asset that will be forever missed by all of us, and his shoes are impossible to fill, but we will continue as I know he would want us to.

          Until next time, thanks for reading and as always, if we can help give us a call at City Hall 918-465-5361.  

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