McAlester’s future is being shaped by two plans — Moving McAlester Forward 2040 and a developing downtown Tax Increment Finance district proposal. Each needs your input.

Each plan is well underway, designed by committees, which have the best interest of McAlester at heart. We applaud the committee members’ dedication and service.

However, each resident has a stake in both plans.

Moving McAlester Forward 2040 has passed major milestones and there are several steps that are already in motion. But that does not mean the plan is set in stone.

There are dueling downtown TIF district proposals. The final plan is very fluid. Among the things that need to be resolved is the size of the district, the level of participation of certain entities — such as McAlester Public Schools — and the length of the district’s existence.

The TIF district could last as long as 25 years or as little as 10.

We won’t debate the merits of the TIF district here.

We will say that every resident should ask questions of their city councilors and anyone who is associated with the formation of either TIF district plan.

Government works best in the sunshine. The News-Capital will continue to report on each step of the way of the TIF district.

But we encourage each of you to ask questions of all involved and then offer your thoughts and suggestions to the framers of each proposal.

Your feedback is critical to the completion and implementation of the final proposal.

Remember your taxpayer dollars are being spent here. You have a right to know how the plan affects you and an obligation to speak up regarding the details.

The 2040 plan won’t be completed before the next generation of newborns complete high school. They will inherit whatever current city planners create today.

The TIF district could last as long as 25 years. McAlester won’t look the same in a quarter century.

Remember that government of, by and for the people requires participation of the people. That means you — residents, taxpayers, and voters. All residents of McAlester will be affected by these plans.

The plans are being formulated on your behalf and on the behalf of your children, and in some cases, for your children’s children.

The plans need your participation.

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