ENID, Okla. —
Vanhooser said he is voting against the proposed parks plan.
“We don’t have $50 million to spend on parks when we have to do $3.2 million of emergency water line repairs, and that’s the tip of the iceberg,” Vanhooser said.
He said water infrastructure improvements should take priority over parks improvements.
“It’s not very sexy, it’s not very fun, but it’s something that has to be done,” Vanhooser said. “Providing water is one of the basic functions of city government, and that’s something we need to focus on for the people.”
Vanhooser said he’s “not against doing something for the parks and not necessarily against building a new park.”
He said he’s against the parks plan because the $50 million doesn’t account or provide for the costs of establishing a sufficient parks and recreation department. He said it would take $4.5 million per year to maintain the parks specified in the parks plan.
“There’s nothing in the budget the way it’s set up to spend $4.5 million a year on parks maintenance,” Vanhooser said. “We’re going to spend all this money to build new parks, and we’re not planning to take care of them.”
Vanhooser said the city should allow the current bond to expire, then “come back to the public and have an open, honest discussion about parks.”
He said he’ll stand by and support whatever choice the voters make on March 5.
“If the public says ‘We want to build these parks,’ then I’ll be all for it,” Vanhooser said. “I’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure we spend the money responsibly, and that we get the most for our money.”
Enid City Commission recently approved two TIF districts to attract new investment to the city.
A TIF district creates incentive for new development, by allowing a portion of the ad valorem tax revenue created by building new business to be returned to the developing company to defray start-up investment.
One TIF would create $4.6 million in incentives for Vector Properties to purchase and “de-mall” Oakwood Mall, a $35 million project. The other TIF would create $15 million in incentives and $12 million in public infrastructure improvements to bring a $200 million canola processing plant to Enid.