The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 25, 2013

Budget OK: Vote allows Enid’s budget to begin next month

ENID, Okla. — Enid City Commission had to meet shortly after dawn Tuesday in a second-chance effort to push through its $173.47 million budget.

By a 5-2 vote, commissioners adopted the budget’s emergency clause, which allows it to go into effect July 1.

They had to meet in the special meeting because of an error during last week’s regular session, where the separate emergency clause didn’t receive enough votes to pass.

In just three minutes, the commissioners approved the emergency and also OK’d closing on the purchase of a property along South Grand near Garriott. The former dive shop will be converted to a green space as part of Enid Renaissance Project.

Ward 4 Commissioner Rodney Timm and Ward 6 Commissioner David Vanhooser once again voted against the budget. They said in previous meetings they opposed expanding the budget by 5 percent, despite an estimate that revenue would increase by at least that much.

“I don’t think that we should have gone away with an unbalanced budget, and so why would I pass a budget I didn’t believe in? That’s all that’s about,” Vanhooser said Tuesday, explaining his vote.

If sales tax revenues don’t meet those expectations, the city will have to trim what they’ve promised to spend.

“I actually hope that the other guys are right, that the revenue exceeds expenses,” Vanhooser said. “If each quarter it looks like sales tax revenue is above the projections, then we’ll be in good shape. If it’s below, then we’ll have to make a few hard decisions in terms of what not to do or what to cut.”

Last week, City Manager Eric Benson said he would resign at the end of the fiscal year if the city ended up spending more than it budgeted.

“I think it was real important what Eric said to me at the budget meeting that he’d resign if he didn’t make this budget balanced by the end of the year. I’m going to hold him to that,” Vanhooser said.

Vanhooser also said he would like the city to create a fund to hold between $10 million and $20 million to be used for economic development, instead of creating something like a tax-increment financing district. The fund would be filled with excess tax revenue.

“If we funded that ourselves, we would save a tremendous amount of money in the interest expense and consequently, we could do more projects without it costing so much money,” he said.

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