Yukon citizens may back temporary tax hike, report shows

City council reviews 'Community Conversations' town hall summary, considers vote on capital upgrades

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Yukon residents share their opinions during a “Community Conversations” town hall forum last fall. Candor PR, which facilitated and moderated three sessions to solicit public feedback on local issues, recently presented a summary report to Yukon city officials. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Attendees of three town hall meetings last fall are “very happy” to live in Yukon.

Yukon residents who shared their feedback at these public forums also are “very concerned” about lack of maintenance or improvement in the city’s infrastructure.

And citizens could support a temporary tax increase to fund capital projects – “as long as infrastructure improvements are prioritized” and the plan “has an expiration date”, is “extremely detailed” and “well communicated.”

These were among main points summarized in the City of Yukon’s “Community Conversations Report” presented Jan. 4 to the Yukon City Council.

“In short, residents want improvements, progress and vision for the city they choose to reside in,” said Assistant to the City Manager Jason Beal, reading from the report’s executive summary.

“There’s quite a bit more information here that you’ll want to review and look over.”

The Yukon City Council will use public input – from these town hall forums and a community survey (see Jan. 8th Yukon Progress) – to determine what capital upgrades to propose in an election tentatively planned for June.

Resurfacing city streets, improving water/sewer facilities, building a new multi-use sports park/recreation complex, community center, library, and third fire station are among possible items that could be funded through a sales tax increase or bond issue.

Several dozen Yukon residents spoke up and shared their views during three Community Conversations’ meetings last fall.

The sessions were Sept. 28 at the Dale Robertson Center, Oct. 9 at the Yukon Community Center and Oct. 21 at the Jackie Cooper Gym.

Candor PR, which facilitated and moderated the open forums to solicit citizens’ input on local issues, recently prepared the summary report for City of Yukon officials.

“The sessions were designed to attract a cross-section of community members and to provide qualitative information to inform quantitative results from a survey of residents,” the report reads.

“Our goal was to determine how people feel about current city offerings and services, what potential improvements/upgrades they would favor, and general attitudes about funding.”

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THE KEY POINTS

The Community Conversations Report’s executive summary lists key points that were based on the comments that attendees shared during the three town hall sessions last fall.

For example, Yukon residents:

  • Are concerned about road conditions (including signage/markings), water quality and cost, traffic control, and stormwater management.
  • Believe Yukon would benefit from more entertainment and dining options like those in Mustang and neighboring cities.
  • Are frustrated by increased vehicle traffic caused by new commercial development south of 10th Street (in Oklahoma City), which they generally believe adds congestion without benefitting Yukon city finances.
  • Understand the challenges of Yukon being “land-locked” surrounded by Oklahoma City.

Town hall attendees think the City of Yukon’s best chance to have voters approve new funding for community projects would be to:

  • Craft a measure with very clear and specific goals and uses for the new revenue.
  • Provide a strict timeline through a “temporary” tax.
  • Propose a sales tax increase because this is the “fairest way” to fund projects, especially since non-Yukon residents would “cover part of the burden.”

Yukon City Council members and city administrators will further discuss a possible capital improvement election during future study sessions.

The full Community Conversations Report may be viewed on the City of Yukon’s website at www@yukonok.gov

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