The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

January 28, 2013

Enid City Commission hopefuls make case at Monday forum


ENID, Okla. — Ward 4

Ward 4 candidates Loyd Kaufman and Rodney Timm also were asked to grade the city’s performance.

Kaufman gave the city administration a C.

“The city commission has lost touch with the citizens of Enid,” Kaufman said, “and I’ll give them a C myself, and I know a lot of people that would give them an F.”

Timm said the city administration deserves a B or C, but said “where we’re not behind the scenes, it’s hard for us to give a grade.”

“I think the city does the right things,” Timm said, “but maybe they just don’t come across in the right way. I think if we knew how government worked around the conference table, we might see things differently.”

Kaufman and Timm both expressed confidence in the ability of City Manager Eric Benson and the next city commission to set proper budget priorities for the city.

“Mr. Benson does an excellent job,” Kaufman said. “I voted for him then (as a commissioner), and I’d vote for him now.”

“I think Mr. Benson and the council, whatever council is there, will do a good job of budgeting,” Timm said.

The candidates were asked to discuss their priorities in setting a city budget, and name any areas they feel aren’t fully addressed.

Kaufman said the city employees need a raise.

“We have some employees who make minimum wage, and they can’t get by on minimum wage,” Kaufman said.

He also said the city needs to improve communications with the people, “either through the newspaper or the radio.”

Timm said water will be “the main issue” for the city’s budget. He said city roads also will need attention to compensate for wear and tear from oil field traffic.

Ward 6

Ward 6 candidates Mickey De La Cruz, Joey Meibergen and Dr. David Vanhooser answered a question about the state of the city’s fiscal health, and policies to foster continued economic growth.

Meibergen said financially, the city is in a good position because of the oil boom, and the city needs to plan for life after the boom.

“We are in such a good position with the oil field right now,” Meibergen said. “We’re in a wonderful position to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Meibergen said Enid needs to “be smart about how we spend our money, and hold our government accountable.”

He said the city needs to look at the city engineer’s priorities for infrastructure improvements and develop a long-term plan for water supply.

“We need to be continuing to invest in our infrastructure and investing in our operational efficiencies, so if the oil field goes away, and it will, and we have to fall back on agriculture, like we always do, we’ll be able to operate more efficiently.”

Vanhooser said the city budget “runs pretty tight,” and the city commission needs to make sure the budget is balanced.

“We have to set our priorities,” he said. “If it’s going into one area, it has to come out of another area.”

De La Cruz said he’s concerned about public safety, particularly staffing levels for Enid Police Department.

But, he said, “I think the budget is doing fine, and I think the city is doing a good job with it.

“We have to set our limits and look to where the city is going.”

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