Operating a municipality is a complex task with many facets to be addressed on a daily level.
At the Nov. 20 Coweta Chamber of Commerce meeting, Mayor Evette Morris and City Manager Roger Kolman gave a State of the City address which outline current operations and goals for the future.
First and foremost was discussion on general fund revenues which pays for city operations. The majority of revenues comes from taxes, which is why officials stress the importance of shopping local. Without locally generated tax dollars, items such as road improvements and emergency services would suffer from lack of funds.
Kolman also discussed community surveys conducted in both 2019 and 2018. Of those Cowetians responding, 81 percent were female, 72 percent were age 35 or older, 59 percent have lived in Coweta more than 10 years and 86 percent are homeowners.
When surveyed, residents placed their highest priority for types of development as restaurants, entertainment, public parks and retail shopping. Those desires were consistent with their priority items in the 2019 survey.
When asked what they regularly shop for outside of Coweta, those answering the survey listed sit down restaurants, clothing, furniture/household goods, electronics/appliances and sporting goods as their top five purchases.
Other items identified through the survey included lumber/building supplies, lawn and garden, hardware, medical/health, pharmacy, fast food and groceries.
When asked if they would support bond supported projects, those surveyed gave just under 70 percent approval for new public parks, just over 50 percent for arterial roadways and just under 50 percent for a new public safety building.
Mayor Morris announced there are a number of new businesses that have opened in the past year in the downtown Broadway District. In addition, there are a number of current projects underway or in the works, including:
• Roland Park Upgrades to include walking trails, additional parking and a splash pad ($450,000).
• Roadway Improvements ($200,000 annual investment).
• Wastewater treatment plant upgrades for additional capacity.
• Public parking in the Broadway District at the corner of Cypress St. and Delaware Ave. across from the Jimmy Lee Campbell Memorial Park.
The city manager said in order to provide funding for future needs, the city is proposing a dedicated sales tax that will help fund infrastructure, buildings and equipment.
“A one cent sales tax would raise approximately $1.3 million per year,” Kolman explained. “Passing this tax will mean the costs of infrastructure will be borne by its users, rather than residents. It will require voter approval.”
The city currently plans to put the sales tax measure on the ballot in April 2020. An additional penny will take the sales tax rate from 8.80 to 9.80, which is the same as in Sand Springs and Wagoner and slightly less than in Bixby and Glenpool.
More information about the upcoming tax vote will be forthcoming.