McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

June 7, 2014

Council considers changes

McALESTER — McAlester city councilors are set to consider passing election resolutions to let voters decide if they want to increase the city’s hotel/motel tax by 50 percent, along with making changes to the city charter.

City councilors are set to meet in regular session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

The proposed city charter changes includes allowing the McAlester Regional Health Center to exceed the current $500,000 limit on “indebtedness or obligation,” without having to first go to a vote of the people.

Instead, city councilors have previously discussed setting the limitation at 5 percent of the hospital’s total net assets.

Evans McBride, a McAlester banker who serves as chairman of the MRHC Authority’s Finance Committee,  said during a previous meeting that the McAlester hospital’s current net assets are approximately $67 million. Five percent of that amount is $3,350,000.

Also, an expected companion measure would ask voters if they want to raise the $500,000 debt limit to $1 million for the McAlester Public Works Authority and the McAlester Airport Authority.

Another proposed city charter change previously discussed by the council would do away with counting the prison populations at Oklahoma State Penitentiary and the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center when drawing the city’s ward boundaries.

The current provision resulted in a drastic reduction of the Ward 4 boundaries, because the two prison populations at Oklahoma State Penitentiary and the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center were included in the ward population counts.

Before the council votes on three items on the Tuesday night agenda, public hearings are scheduled to be held.

Public hearings, where city residents are given the chance to address a subject before it comes up for a vote, are set for the proposed city charter changes, the proposed hotel/motel sales tax increase and on the city budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 Fiscal Year, which begins June 1.

The proposed hike in the hotel/motel tax would raise it from the current 4 percent to a 6 percent rate. Ward 3 Councilor/Vice Mayor Travis Read had originally advocated a hike to an 8 percent rate, but several other councilors said they preferred a lower rate of 6 percent.

City officials have said they would like to hold the election on the same day as the statewide Aug. 26 Primary Run-Off Election.

The Tuesday night meeting is set to begin with a Union Pacific Railroad presentation and general discussion, from UP Manager of Public Safety, Stephen Lazzari.

Also during the meeting, Connie J. Davis-Counts plans to ask the city council to waive a 90 day waiting period required before holding “another dirt event” at the Southeast Expo Center.

At least seven of the agenda items are related to requirements for a Community Development Block Grant application, and the procedures required to move the process forward.

Another item is related to a request from the McAlester Fire Department to use part of the city fire department’s portion of the county quarter-cent excise tax for fire services.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.