By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
David Vanhooser is running for Enid City Commission, to make sure the city maintains its proper functions and does not spend money needlessly.
He filed for the Ward 6 commission seat Monday. There are two other candidates for the seat: Mickey De La Cruz and Joey Meibergen.
Vanhooser said he wants to be the voice of those who believe government should do less and reduce taxes. He said he is concerned the way city budgets are done. Projects are approved at a specific cost, then change orders continually bring the cost up.
“You want to make sure everything is done fiscally responsibly,” Vanhooser said.
Vanhooser, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at Integris Bass Baptist Health Center, said he supports the new parks and recreation plan. But, he said the cost of the plan is estimated at $50 million, and he questions whether the final cost will end up higher. With a population of 50,000, a $50 million project is $1,000 for everyone who lives in Enid, he said.
“Parks and facilities like ballparks is a function of city government, and we should do that. Building parks is fine; maybe we could get private business to help build it.
“Government is not a blank check.”
Vanhooser said it is one thing to build a park and another to maintain it. He wants to be sure funds are budgeted and the city can afford it.
Another big concern for Vanhooser is water. He wants to see the city’s water study, but he said he believes part of the issue is the city water line running from its water fields.
“We may need to spend $20 million to get water here, and Northstar Canola, how much water will they need?” he said.
He acknowledged the new water towers being constructed will help the situation. However, if Enid continues to add industries, he said, the city will need more water. He said a lake would be a good idea, but questioned if the cost is within reason.
“If feasible, it’s an option. But it’s very expensive and it sounds like we need more pipes and wells now,” Vanhooser said.
In his announcement statement, Vanhooser said he believes the function of city government is to provide for basic services, such as police and fire protection, utility services and maintenance of city streets and public facilities. It also is the role of city government to establish and enforce codes and planning processes that encourage development and promote health and safety of residents. That includes promoting economic development and improving the quality of life of residents.
“However, I do not believe that it is the function of city government to utilize taxpayers hard-earned money to purchase private real estate such as the Homeland building, which currently sits empty, nor to hand out gifts of borrowed money to private multi-million dollar corporations, to reduce their cost of doing business in Enid,” Vanhooser said. “These are functions of private enterprise and free-market forces and should be encouraged as such.”
As a member of the Tax Increment Finance Review Committee, Vanhooser spoke against the Oakwood Mall TIF, because he did not believe the city should subsidize a private business. He later voted in favor of the project, but spoke against it at the city meeting at which it was approved.
Vanhooser said he believes government should be smaller, that increasing taxes on individuals and businesses has a negative impact on growth and development, and there should be less invasion of the government into our personal lives and into small business.