Month 1997-6 June
Meeting of 1997-6-03 Budget Meeting
LAWTON CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING
JUNE 3, 1997 - 5:30 P.M.
WAYNE GILLEY CITY HALL COUNCIL CHAMBER
Charles Beller, Mayor Pro Tem, Also Present:
Presiding Gil Schumpert, City Manager
Felix Cruz, City Attorney
Brenda Smith, City Clerk
Meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. Notice of meeting and
agenda were posted on the City Hall bulletin board as required by
PRESENT: Jody Maples, Ward One
Richard Williams, Ward Two
Jeff Sadler, Ward Three
John Purcell, Ward Four
*Robert Shanklin, Ward Five
Charles Beller, Ward Six
Carol Green, Ward Seven
*Randy Warren, Ward Eight
*Warren entered at 5:40 and Shanklin entered at 5:45 p.m.
CONSIDER APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF MAY 15, 20 AND 22, 1997, SPECIAL
LAWTON CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS.
MOVED by Williams, SECOND by Sadler, for approval of the Minutes
as submitted. AYE: Williams, Sadler, Purcell, Beller, Green,
Maples. NAY: None. OUT: Warren, Shanklin. MOTION CARRIED.
CONDUCT REVIEW OF PROPOSED FY 1997-98 CITY OF LAWTON BUDGET
Schumpert said information had been distributed on budget
adjustments; figures assume approval of a fifty cent rate
increase. $40,000 for Wastewater Treatment Plant is in a special
account retained from State mandated fees to be applied to the
scale. $300,000 capital outlay reduction is deducted. There was
an error in the solid waste budget where an extra employee was
included. Net change shows a negative $76,000; if the rate
increase is not approved, there would be a negative $276,000.
Purcell asked if a 1% rate increase on industrial and commercial
water would result in only $5,400 increased income. Schumpert
said that was correct based on the current scale; if it were
raised to ninety-three cents per gallon, it would be $34,000 but
none of that is included in the budget.
PARKS & RECREATION DEPARTMENT
Dick Huck, Parks & Recreation Director, presented a video
portraying the benefits of parks and recreation to the community.
He reviewed the proposed budget as follows:
ADMIN: Four employees; director, assistant director, secretary,
and mail courier.
SPORTS/AQUATICS: Activities include youth football, basketball,
baseball, and adult softball. Funding sources include general
fund, adult softball fund, and recreation cash fund. There are
five full time, and a number of part time, employees. The
initiative dealt with field maintenance and resulted in five part
time employees being traded for two full time employees, at an
increase of $1,900. Activities also include the municipal
swimming pool and three wading pools. Interaction of this
division with the public schools was discussed. Capital outlay
includes $12,000 for McMahon Park field maintenance and $3,400
for an answering system to better inform the public when games
are rained out and rescheduled and for upcoming events. $2,000
pitching machine will be used by 7-9 year olds and will be used
to phase out the coach pitch activities; it is an interim program
between Tee Ball and Pee Wee teams. $14,000 sedan will be used by
Recreation Supervisor Dorwen Porter.
RECREATION SERVICES: Activities include Carnegie Library Town
Hall, Patterson Center, Owens Center and the King Center. Recent
staffing changes at Carnegie Library were discussed, as well as
having the facility staffed by a non-profit organization,
volunteers or City employees who could have office space. $10,000
was received from rental of the building and fees have been
increased recently. Williams asked if the $5,000 increase for
electricity was due to having another building added and Huck
said no, it is for these four buildings.
Use of the Owens Center for office space for City activities was
discussed, as opposed to use of more of the space for
recreational activities. Increase in cost for custodial and
mowing services was noted. Green asked if activity coordinators
had input into the budget to request money for supplies. Huck
said yes, and funds are provided as they are available. Green
suggested fliers or public information in some form be provided
to let the citizens know what activities are going on and that
they are open to anyone who wants to participate, usually at no
SENIOR SERVICES: Facilities include Davis High Rise and Patterson
Center. County Nutrition Project uses Patterson Center as a
nutrition site; building is used for youth in the evening.
Staffing levels were discussed and Huck said consideration was
being given to merging recreation and senior services into one
Beller said capital outlay shows a full size van and asked if
that was a replacement. Huck said the current van has over
100,000 miles and will likely be transferred to the Library if
the new van is approved; Library could use such a van in lieu of
using the larger bookmobile in certain cases. Green spoke in
favor of purchasing the new van and pointed out problems with
transporting patrons from Patterson to the Davis High Rise and
the scheduling involved causing some to miss out on the nutrition
project offered at Patterson. The County currently has nutrition
sites at Pleasant Valley, the King Center, Patterson Center, and
the Comanche County Fairgrounds.
RETIRED SENIOR VOLUNTEER PROGRAM: Huck said funding sources are
the State, DHS, and the general fund. There are two employees;
around 300 people participate as volunteers.
ARTS & HUMANITIES: Ann Weisman distributed information regarding
proposed programming changes. Due to lack of community support in
the Spirit of the Southern Plains event, programming changes are
proposed to attempt to involve a larger segment of the population
in the programs offered.
The Chamber of Commerce is instituting a New Years Eve family
event to be known as First Night; proposal is to provide $1,400
in support of that event since it will be the first year. Beller
asked where it would take place. Weisman said possibilities are
having several tents and activities set up at the Mall, or a
variety of businesses in the downtown area hosting certain
portions, but it has not been finally decided. At midnight there
would be one big event, such as a laser light show, to bring the
families back together. Rides around the Boulevard of Lights
would also be included. Beller said he felt the hotel-motel tax
should be used for an event such as this which would meet the
criteria of promoting tourism.
Co-sponsorship of programs with non-profit organizations should
allow for more activities to be held. There is not a change in
dollar amounts, only how the funds will be used. Beller asked if
those involved in the Spirit of the Southern Plains were in favor
of this change and Weisman said yes. Shanklin said the budget for
this activity has jumped 43% in two years. Green said the
Juneteenth Celebration will be June 20 at 2 p.m. at the Lawton
McMAHON AUDITORIUM: The protective cage was removed from the
capital outlay as a reduction and other methods are being sought;
area is currently off limits. ADA Lift will allow disabled
persons access to the stage. Williams suggested seeking grant
funding for the protective cage.
MUSEUM: Council will be asked to consider an agenda item on June
10 regarding an agreement with the Institute of the Great Plains
to develop a public trust.
Shanklin asked if the Tingley Collection would be timely and
properly displayed. He emphasized the importance of keeping
promises to McMahon Foundation and said if there will be any
problems in this regard, it should be brought out now.
Schumpert said the agreement between the City, Institute and
McMahon Foundation was when the expansion is finished, the Citys
commitment was to help build the exhibit. The only dilemma is
that in between all this there has been an asbestos abatement
situation. One approach, and the least expensive, is to move the
present operation into the new structure, remove the asbestos,
and move it back. The other way, favored by the Institute, is
moving in four phases, redoing the old area, and have asbestos
removed in each phase, which is more expensive. McMahon
Foundation is aware of the situation and we are meeting with the
Institute about it. As part of the phasing operation, the Museum
came up with an additional renovation. One of the items that was
not considered in the expansion was extending the mezzanine and
restructuring the offices. If we touch the asbestos or
electricity and something happens, the HVAC and electrical
systems are 35 years old and would have to be brought to code.
Schumpert said he met with Dr. Graybill, Jim Wood and Kenneth
Bridges this week and discussed it; there was no mention of the
Tingley Collection or when there would be a grand opening because
there are too many unknowns with the asbestos, electrical and
HVAC and what the Institute approved and the Museum staff agreed
to in the renovation/remodel of the existing facility and the
money that goes with that.
Shanklin said the Institute must make some of the decisions and
he hoped the City would do what it said to honor the commitment
of McMahon Foundation. Huck said the target date for the grand
opening is November 1.
Beller asked that a program paper be developed to show what
progress would be made by a given time. Shanklin said someone
from the City Managers office should be able to respond to
Purcell asked why a riding mower was being purchased and why
three, four or five entities are all involved in mowing grass.
Huck said the custodian at the Museum maintains the interior
grounds and discussions were being held regarding maintenance
responsibilities under the proposed trust.
Purcell said he said two years ago that we should consolidate the
mowing but a lot of people are still doing it. Schumpert said
this is inside the fort and that area and we have contracts for
the outside; in the trust if it is outside the fence, it is the
Citys but if it is inside, it is the trusts. The City does not
go in but for structural problems with the building; the trust
will maintain the interior grass area.
Purcell said there are still too many people responsible for
mowing and it should all be under one person.
Green said there is a canal in her area and Hucks employees cut
the grass, then crews from Streets cut another part, and crews
from other areas are doing yet another part, resulting in eight
days where people have been trying to do a two block area of
canal with three groups having been out there.
Williams said the anticipated cost of electricity for the Museum
may have been estimated too low due to the square footage. Huck
said the facility would not be open until later in the budget
year and that played a part in estimating electrical costs.
LAKES: Division is responsible for grounds maintenance at Lakes
Lawtonka and Ellsworth; one supervisor, three labor-type
positions and one clerk are full time; several are employed on a
part time basis. $50,000 is shown in the budget for capital
outlay for improvements.
Purcell said last year, $25,000 was approved to be used to match
grants on a three to one or two to one basis. Huck said the grant
has not been acted on by the Oklahoma Wildlife Department.
Purcell asked if the $25,000 had been spent. Huck said no, phase
one was those items that were not matchable and the other $25,000
was an IOU but they have not initiated it and it is still
Purcell asked what would be done with the $50,000 shown in this
budget. Huck said a dike at the Elgin arm on Ellsworth; road
improvements in several areas; and rip rap around the Lake
Income produced through lake operations was discussed, as well as
Williams asked why the City should not privatize the lakes. Huck
said there can be a certain amount and some is done within the
department in town. Huck said one question with privatization is
whether the maintenance level would be acceptable as far as
mowing camp grounds and cleaning restrooms, and that can be
debated. Staff has never been directed to look at cost comparison
for privatization vs. City in-house costs.
Williams said the concessionaires on both ends of Lawtonka have
camping and the city has camping in the middle. It seems natural
to contract that to either one of the concessions instead of
competing. The Citys rates are lower than area rates so we are
keeping that camping market depressed. Huck said Lawtons rates
are 30-40% of what is charged at State parks; two years ago the
camping fee was increased from $5 to $8 per night and that was a
big debate at that time.
Maples said the State parks have more to offer, and that there is
little offered at Lawtonka. She said increasing the fees was not
the answer. Williams said the City is setting a level of pricing
that is not helping the City or the concessions and asked if the
City should compete with the concessions. Williams said the
people at the concessions are already mowing, that would have
been a great initiative and it should be reviewed.
Huck said OSU is preparing a master plan, and nature programs,
hiking trails, etc. are being reviewed. Shanklin said people
should not have to be entertained while they are at the lakes.
Maples said there is only one swing set and it is poorly
maintained; people bring their own Christmas trees to the lakes
to help improve the fishing.
Beller asked if the OSU study would address privatization. This
was discussed and Huck will ask OSU to specifically look at this
subject. Purcell said the master plan sounds like it will be only
what we will build and he hoped it would cover some of the things
Williams was discussing. Purcell said cost is not the issue, the
plan says what will we do with the lakes and how, and that is
critical; if it is determined it should be turned over to one
lessee and get them to build a large motel that should be looked
at although we may not do it. Green said she understood there
were plans for a very large and impressive facility to be built
in the lakes area by private enterprise. Williams asked that you
look at contracting out at least the mowing and collecting the
camping fees and make them all equal.
Recess was taken at 7:40 p.m. Council reconvened at 7:55 p.m.
with all members being present.
LIBRARY: Division consists of the main library, the new branch
library in Wyatt Acres, and the bookmobile program. There are 14
full time, and 13 part time, employees. Schumpert said the staff
van was deleted in the capital outlay reduction. Shanklin asked
if a microfilm reader was included. Marion Donaldson, Head
Librarian, said it was deleted from the budget. Estimated cost is
$15,000 and staff is to determine the revenue produced from the
machine currently on hand, which is now broken; new machine would
use regular paper and be much more cost efficient to operate.
Green asked if smoke detectors were included. Donaldson said it
was pulled from the budget. Discussion was that these could be
included with the HVAC system; staff is to return an estimate of
Discussion was held on providing parking for the branch library
in Wyatt Acres. Approximate cost was $20,000 and patrons now walk
to the library or park on the side streets; neighborhood
residents may oppose a parking lot in the subdivision. City Codes
regarding zoning and parking as they would relate to a private
building of this nature were discussed with comments being made
that the City should conduct its business at a higher standard
than the public sector is expected to follow.
Purcell asked if the County would continue to fund the total cost
for one employee and response was yes. Purcell suggested the
County be asked to fund some portion of the costs for books and
periodicals since all County residents can use the library.
Council will be asked to approve the letter of request to the
County Commissioners in regard to Library funding; separation
should be maintained in regard to the employee cost and any other
costs involving purchase of books or other materials.
Schumpert pointed out a $153,000 increase in the Library budget.
Funds are needed to continue renovation to the interior of the
main library, to include carpet replacement, and replacement of
the lighting ballasts. Williams asked if consideration had been
given to having an energy services company involved in the
lighting. Huck said they tried to approach it in that manner but
had to have engineering and RFPs due to state laws and the
estimated cost of the project. Williams asked the attorney to see
if the City could take advantage of that since the State has done
so. Shanklin asked if there was an appraised value on the library
and its contents. Huck will provide a response. Shanklin said the
City is self-insured and this should be examined on such a large
BUILDING AND GROUNDS: Division consists of Highland Cemetery,
Building Maintenance, and Park Maintenance. Cemetery capital
outlay is funded through the cemetery care fund; both weed eater
and mower were shown as purchasing one and it is supposed to be
two on each.
Park Maintenance is responsible for mowing parks, right of ways,
and medians. Account 273 reflects cost for contract mowing.
Schumpert said Albert Johnson Park was adjusted to $15,000 in
capital outlay reductions. Huck said play equipment and a jogging
trail were proposed and he would meet with area residents to
determine which they would prefer due to funding reduction. Huck
said there are 14 parks in the current inventory with inadequate
Council discussed the fact that Albert Johnson Park is being
leased from the school system, and other lease arrangements
between the City and school system were outlined. Maples asked
that funding be spent in Harrell Park due to its heavy usage by
bicycle riders and children. Beller asked that work be completed
to trade land between the school system and the City for park
Williams said there is a vacant lot in Ward 2 that had been used
as a park and asked if the land could be sold and proceeds
applied to improve other parks. Beller said he had been trying to
have Blue Beaver Park appraised so it could be sold but that it
was a long and involved process.
MOVED by Maples, SECOND by Warren, to switch Harrell Park
(bicycle park) for Albert Johnson Park for use of the $15,000.
SUBSTITUTE MOTION by Purcell, SECOND by Green, to take no action
and have Huck bring a list of the worst parks and look at it
again Thursday night. AYE: Sadler, Purcell, Shanklin, Beller,
Green, Williams. NAY: Maples, Warren. SUBSTITUTE MOTION CARRIED.
Williams asked for a list of vacant properties owned by the City
that could be sold if they are not currently being used, to
generate activity and prevent the City from having to do the
Purcell pointed out the prairie dogs in Elmer Thomas Park are
causing damage to the improvements and are too close to areas
where children are playing. He asked how this could be
controlled. Huck said a company in Lubbock, Texas, relocates them
on occasion, and that crews euthanize the older animals to
control the population.
Green said she had observed crews not producing much work and
asked if there was adequate supervision. Huck said there are
supervisors for all the crews.
Williams said the entrance to Elmer Thomas Park on 3rd Street is
in need of repair. Huck said an estimate to repair that entrance,
as well as the parking area, is roughly $20,000, and will be
brought to Council in an agenda item on June 24.
Beller asked if funding shown is only for the windscreen in Greer
Park. Huck said it will include lighting, overlay of tennis
courts and replacement of some windscreen which was damaged in a
storm and insurance has paid some on replacement costs.
Huck said Building Maintenance provides internal support for
facilities in the City inventory; there are four full time and
one part time employees. HVAC contract is included for all City
Beller said the sidewalk and entrance to City Hall on the south
are in bad shape and asked that there be enough pride in the City
to have a proper entrance to the building. Water stands several
inches deep on the sidewalk after very little rain and the
concrete is breaking off. Estimated cost to repair was $25,000
and Shanklin suggested the work be done in-house when crews are
available. The City Manager was asked to have the project done
and discussion was held regarding crews being pulled from street
projects to do this work; consensus was that it could be
scheduled to present the least amount of disruption to other
Purcell said it appears there are 13 people reporting to Huck and
asked if reorganization was being considered. Huck said there are
six people who report to him, although there are more activities.
Purcell suggested the chart be corrected. Schumpert said he
planned to have some reorganization of Parks & Recreation in the
following years budget proposal.
Williams said the $62 million question with EPA regarding the
sewer system has become an umbrella over the budget. He said he
felt Council should be given some information on this question or
have a workshop or discussion.
Schumpert said he did not object to having a workshop. He said
Council had been briefed, to include some members going to
Oklahoma City when we talked to DEQ. Staff is working on
answering questions from EPA and DEQ and from that will come what
they are willing to do. DEQ wants three phases starting with the
worst basin and 6-7 years to do that basin; EPA does not agree to
20 years. Funding options are limited to ad valorem by a vote of
the people, sales tax increase or add it to the utility bill.
Until we know the amount of the annual cost, it appears to be
premature to talk about one of the sources. If it is $3 million,
which is what we are trying to get them to agree to as far as
disruption and managing, is $3 million and that is one-half cent
sales tax, $10 on the utility bill or ad valorem tax vote. $6
million on the utility bill would be $30 and people could not
stand that. Staff is waiting to be given the parameters to
determine the best recommendation.
Williams said members are saying we know there are problems with
the infrastructure, the sewer system will cost $61 million and
EPA is saying, Lawton, you have known this for a long time and
have not taken corrective action, and we will make you take it.
He said there are problems we have known about internally that we
knew needed to be repaired and we are not getting a handle on the
problems. Williams said he felt there was a feeling that the
Council may not want to take a serious look at increasing fee for
repairs based on the uncertainty of what EPA and DEQ will make us
do on the sewer system. He said the Council must look at the
worst case scenario, if it will be ten year, how we would fund
that so they would have some idea. Williams said Council would
then be able to see if we want to add a capital improvement fee
on the utility bill to take care of the infrastructure needs.
Schumpert said there is in this budget a sewer maintenance crew
on top of the $61 million that will touch every sewer line once
every five years. Williams asked if there is money for the
material to repair the lines. Schumpert said the repair and
maintenance account. Schumpert said one challenge is that we
would not want to replace a line then have another crew replace
parts of what have already been replaced. Rehab crew and
maintenance crew must compliment each other. For water lines and
streets, the only program is the one we have had for a number of
years. Williams said there is a certain amount of money in the
budget for water lines and streets, and that is all the work that
can be accomplished.
Maples said the option of raising utility rates was mentioned but
the time frame is unknown now and that must be determined; to
constantly raise utility rates is not always the answer. Maples
said the Bar-S sales tax is in effect now but will go off in a
year and maybe the voters would dedicate that one cent in sales
tax to the sewer system.
Williams said the streets and water lines are not getting any
better, and there is the sales tax that will drop off in a year,
but the fact remains that we have to have $62 million from some
source. Shanklin said you do not know if it is 10, 15 or 20
years. Maples said there was not a doubt that the Council would
have to identify where the money would come from within the next
year and there are other ways besides utilities. Williams said
once the budget is passed, the Council will not raise the issue
again on what would be done with the other infrastructure needs
that are not being met, namely the streets and the water lines.
Purcell said the sewer is the first priority and when we finish
that, we can go to the others; until an answer is received from
EPA, we cannot get there. Purcell said he had talked to the
Congressional Office in Washington and they are waiting to see
what EPA does before they want to come in to do anything they may
be asked to do, and there may be some funds available, but until
we know what EPA will require, we cannot address it.
Shanklin said every city in the United States has similar
problems. He said Lawton officials have known about it, but being
able to do something to change it takes a lot of dollars and the
public is not willing to do that. Shanklin said he was
anticipating the rewards of $80 million in construction to see
what that does to the sales tax, which has steadily decreased
since the first of the year. He said what has been identified by
the money we blew on smoke testing is the same as what our staff
knew had to be done. Shanklin said he would like to know how much
of this will be insituform, how much is replacement of line, and
where is it. He said the maintenance program goes hand in hand
with the rehab program and there is not that much difference
between them, and we should examine doing it in-house.
Shanklin said 20% of the entire system is all we have to do, and
the cost for that is $60 million, based on a two inch flood. He
said if it was 100% of the system, it would have been $300
million, and if it would have been a three inch rain in a 24 hour
period, it would have been close to $700 million. He said the
first $3 million would come from the 1995 CIP, and that fund
would be depleted by this time next year. Shanklin said he wanted
to know which lines would be done on that 20%. Shanklin said it
is ludicrous that we are building a wastewater treatment plant
for 150,000 people; that will accept a lot of inflow and
infiltration. He said Council needs to know which lines are being
Next budget meeting will be held Thursday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m.
Council adjourned at 9:20 p.m.