The following candidates met with Shepherd & Sequoyah Neighborhoods tonight to discuss their platform for the quickly approaching City Council elections: James Cooper, Major Jemison, Ed Shadid.
I wanted to point out some highlights of the discussion that will impact our neighborhood or surrounding area:
1. There was general consensus that the police force is woefully understaffed for the population and square mileage of OKC the police force serves. There are about the same number of police officers on the force as there were in the 90s. Compounding that issue is the fact that the police force will be retiring in a record number in the next 3 to 5 years and the current facility used to recruit and train can only produce enough officers to replace the ones retiring. There is talk about funding the construction of a new police academy so that a larger number of police officers could be recruited and trained.
(Maybe, we as a neighborhood, can use this as a bargaining chip to be assumed by Oklahoma City University PD)
2. Upgrade/improvements of transportation infrastructure will be a large part of the General Obligation (GO) Bond for 2017 and getting a seat at the table for strategic planning will be crucial in improving our neighborhood and surrounding areas transportation infrastructure. Discussion of using concrete instead of asphalt for main routes or arteries was acknowledged.
3. TIF Districts (Tax increment financing): These are typically used to subsidize redevelopment and may be used for public or private uses depending on the structure of the TIF. Oklahoma City currently has 8 TIF districts. Recently, the OKCPS Board of Education was alerted to TIF proposals that would divert future tax dollars from OKC Public Schools.
Please vote on March 3rd and engage your City Council.