By Conrad Dudderar
Voters should consider an estimated $81 million bond issue and .25% sales tax to fund capital improvement projects at an election next January, a City of Yukon advisory board has recommended.
The Yukon City Council will decide on the proposed priority project list, designed to address street and infrastructure needs, improve fire protection and enhance quality of life.
The Yukon Capital Project Advisory Board completed its initial duties at an Aug. 18 meeting inside the council chambers of the Centennial Building, 12 S 5th.
“We need to plan for the future,” Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said, “not build something that fits our population right now.
“We have to plan for growth.”
Members voted 8-0 to recommend to the city council that these seven propositions be placed on a Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 ballot for Yukon voters to decide:
• N.W. 10th Street (Yukon Parkway to Garth Brooks Boulevard)
– $14,755,000 estimated cost to redesign/reconstruct
• Garth Brooks Boulevard (Vandament Avenue to N.W. 10th St.)
– $9,700,000 estimated cost to redesign/reconstruct (includes widening to five lanes)
• Water Lines
– $5,437,500 estimated cost to replace 29,000 feet of well field lines to city limits
– $2,536,967 estimated cost to replace 20,239 feet of water lines inside city limits
• Sewer Lines
– $2,761,932 estimated cost to replace 20,123 feet of sewer lines
– $175,000 estimated cost to upgrade lift stations
• Wastewater Treatment Plant
– $7 million estimated cost to upgrade and expand facility (to 5 million gallons-per-day capacity)
• Yukon Fire Department – Station #3
– $6,450,000 estimated cost to build 7,000-8,000-square-foot fire station in southwest part of Yukon and purchase apparatus
• Multi-Generational Recreation Center with Indoor Aquatic Facility and Library
– $23,309,125 estimated cost to construct 54,845 square foot recreation center with indoor pool near Frisco Road and Hwy 66
– $8,775,000 estimated cost to construct 27,000 square foot library adjacent to recreational facility (twice the size of current library)
Total estimated project cost is $80,900,524
“I think it’s a great idea; I’m all in,” said advisory board member Dr. Jason Simeroth, Yukon Public Schools’ superintendent. “The projects selected hit something for everybody.”
Simeroth did say he believes the recreation center and library should be combined into one building and not separated.
Advisory board member Derrick Schmidt doesn’t believe a 54,845 square foot recreation center would be large enough due to Yukon’s fast growth.
“Three years ago, Mustang had to add on to their community center,” Schmidt said. “We’re so far behind, we need to go ‘over the top’ because we’re trying to draw more people to spend more time here.
“We are the third fastest-growing zip code.”
There may not be a need for a third fire station now, but Kretchmar said there will eventually “with all the growth we’ve had and all the growth that’s coming.”
Kretchmar referred to extensive commercial development around Garth Brooks Boulevard and Interstate 40, and the future development expected near Frisco Road and I-40.
“When that happens, there’s really going to be a need,” she told the advisory board.
HOW TO FUND IT?
The Yukon Capital Project Advisory Board voted 7-1 to recommend two funding sources:
- A 20-year, 15-mill property tax levy for project construction. The City’s financial advisors estimate this would generate more than $84 million in project funds. Yukon now has among the lowest mill levies among metro-area cities at 3.41.
- A 20-year, .25% sales tax dedicated to operational/personnel costs of the new fire station, multi-generational recreation center and library. Financial advisors estimate this would generate more than $27 million in revenue.
Advisory board member Buddy Carpenter voted “no” on the proposed funding source, indicating after the meeting he would prefer a 1% sales tax that would generate an estimated $110 million.
Yukon’s sales tax rate is now 8.85%, in the middle among metro-area communities. The proposed .25% sales tax would increase Yukon’s overall rate to 9.1%, equal to Midwest City.
Simeroth believes the bond issue would generate more than $84 million due to Yukon’s rising property valuation, so the debt could be paid off earlier.
“(The City of Yukon) will be able to do more projects than what you have here,” he said.
It should be emphasized that the project cost estimates are based on City staff estimates using current construction costs in the Oklahoma City metro area.
“We would have to order a study and concept plans to get final bids to know ‘final’ dollars,” Yukon Capital Projects Advisory Board Chairman David Enmark pointed out.
The design process for any proposed project would not begin until – or unless – Yukon voters approve that project.
Enmark will formally present the board’s recommendations at an upcoming Yukon City Council work session.
Ultimately, it will be up to the five city council members to decide which propositions to list on a ballot, how they would be funded and when to call the election.
The Yukon City Council must approve an election resolution at least 60 days before the election date.
The final decision whether to fund any capital improvement project lies with Yukon’s registered voters.
WHAT ABOUT A SPORTS COMPLEX?
Several key proposed projects are not included among the advisory board’s recommendations to the city council:
- Reconstructing a list of 15 roads and streets ($26,350,000 estimated cost)
- Purchasing new Smart water meters ($4,029,734 estimated cost)
- Developing multi-use sports complex on city-owned property at Hwy 66 and Frisco Road ($100 million-$150 million estimated cost)
Advisory board member Schmidt said he would like to see “new numbers” presented to the public for the projected cost to build a sports park.
“The original drawings we had for this piece of property off Frisco; everybody keeps bringing it up at $140 (million),” he said. “That needs to be erased from our memory.
“There is no reason for a 5,000-seat softball stadium (and) there’s no reason for baseball stadium seating. … Midwest City just opened up a really nice one for $6 million. Our numbers versus what’s being done is way off.”
Dirt work alone for a Yukon sports complex proposed 10 years ago was estimated at $7 million, Kretchmar pointed out.
The Yukon Capital Project Advisory Board was established in March by city council resolution. Eleven members were appointed to provide guidance to the council on a possible election.
Meeting since late March, the board has received feedback from City of Yukon department directors, municipal finance and bond advisors, city engineers, and citizens.
Members also reviewed input provided by Yukon residents in fall 2021 through a community survey and three town hall forums.