Multi-Million Dollar Bond Issue In Glenpool Faces Opposition From Business Owners
People in a growing Green Country city are sparring over plans for future development.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at NewsOn6 Tulsa.
#1 Dec 8, 2010
The biggest hurdle facing the upcoming bond passage is the mistrust the public has with current city management. While parts of the proposal are innocuous at worst and quite needed at best, the lack of faith in the ability of the City to manage and produce the promised benefits could very well scuttle part or all of the bond proposals. What is the source of this mistrust? Several things have contributed to it. In spite of Wal-Mart sales tax cash, the City manager conceded Monday night that the current operating budget of Glenpool is ‘tight’. It is clear that bad decisions and unprecedented borrowing has left the City in a condition scarcely better than before Wal-Marts’ arrival.
In spite of this, they expect the public to ‘trust’ them to be able to fund the operations of even more projects. They also confessed that they did not seek a feasibility study for either the proposed sports complex or the cemetery. As it turns out, they never got one for the conference center either. The City manager stated “What do you mean by feasibility? We did the feasibility study by doing the conceptual drawings and the ‘guesstimated’ costs.” No banker would lend money on such a flimsy application, but Glenpool’s citizens are being asked to bankroll these projects on just such slender logic.
While the bond funds might be sufficient to construct these improvements, there is no guarantee that funds will be available to maintain or staff them. It was clear that the City plans on sports groups to shoulder the entire burden of ongoing costs like utilities, continuing upkeep and the maintenance of the ball fields and structures. Should this not happen, or if cemetery lot sales are less than required or if the new Conference Center doesn’t generate enough to even keep its doors open and sales tax collections remain flat - then in order to remain solvent the City will be forced to raise utility rates, cut services or let the complex fall into disrepair. Under any circumstance, the residents will still be paying for this bond for the next 15 years. It was also made plain that the City is not planning on funding any road improvements leading to the site, and the need for expensive traffic control lights was not even mentioned. One thing they did emphasize, however, was that ‘at least 70%’ of the bond money must be spent on the stated improvements. What do they have in mind for the other 30%?
Another aspect of this issue is the potential negative impact its passage may have on the school system. Removing the land from the tax rolls has prevented it from any future potential development and the associated increase in property taxes permanently. In addition, the next time the school proposes a bond issue this increase in the millage rate may limit what the school system can ask for. Given the choice between the school system and the city to provide for the youth of Glenpool, I will invest my money in the School system every time.
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