By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon city leaders said they’d be seeking input from the public while considering proposals to fund major capital projects.
This week, city council members heard feedback from one Yukon resident who asked them to address existing safety and quality of life issues first.
A multi-use sports park, recreation center, library, fire station, and infrastructure upgrades are among city council “wish list” items that could be funded through a general obligation bond or sales tax proposition.
City officials plan to solicit citizen input through town hall meetings and surveys before deciding which projects to include on a possible ballot.
Jake Hanselman, of Branch Line Road, offered suggestions during visitor comments at the June 1st city council meeting. He shared concerns about Yukon’s water supply and a damaged pond in his housing addition.
“Our roads, our sidewalks and our existing parks need to be worked on before any bond issue is taken up to try to add more things, before any of these other things can be fixed,” Hanselman told Yukon’s elected leaders.
“Why add more things to deteriorate (when items) can’t even be taken care of now?”
During council discussion near the end of the June 1st meeting, Ward 4 City Council Member Aric Gilliland stressed the importance of the City of Yukon “not playing catch-up.”
“We’re in pretty decent shape financially but we don’t have a whole lot of ‘wiggle’ room,” Gilliland said. “There’s two ways that we can increase that wiggle room – that’s sales tax and/or bond issues.
“So, it’s important for us to continue to consider how we can use those (funding options) to improve the quality of life in our town.”
Gilliland is a proponent for a new sports complex and recreation facilities, which he believes would generate added sales tax revenue by bringing visitors to Yukon for tournaments.
“I heard from a store owner on Main Street today who said even when there is a single ballgame in town, their sales pick up,” Gilliland added.
And, he believes, this new income stream could help pay for needed items like street and sewer improvements.
SPEAKING LOUD AND CLEAR
During his comments to the city council, Hanselman referred to a “lack of quality in civil engineering” in Yukon.
He told council members he did not understand why he must pay a $20 monthly fee to the City of Oklahoma City to deliver water to Yukon.
“There’s an infrastructure issue here that needs to be looked into,” Hanselman said. “It’s a civil engineering issue, and it needs to be fixed.”
This fee is paid by City of Yukon utility customers to recover costs associated with water purchases from Oklahoma City needed to augment Yukon’s supply.
The Frisco Ridge resident also shared concerns about a retention pond built in his neighborhood near a creek. The pond has “blown out on the far end,” he told the council.
Hanselman believes this was caused by poor civil engineering done too cheaply and fast. The damage has created holes as soil erodes and rocks disappear.
“It’s not safe,” he said. “Children can be falling in it right now, hurting themselves and dying. It’s completely unacceptable for safety and quality of life as a citizen.”
Hanselman challenged City of Yukon officials to hold the developers and investors accountable instead of allowing them to “dump and run.” He laid partial blame on the city’s civil engineering department for these “shortfalls.”
Ward 3 City Council Member Donna Yanda thanked Hanselman for attending the meeting to address his concerns before all council members.
“I encourage all citizens, if you have a concern or a question, to come and address the council as a whole,” Yanda said. “We’re happy to take your emails and your phone calls.”