Council approves recommended capital projects

Voters to decide on sales, property tax for funding

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Jason Orr, President of the City Management Association of Oklahoma, presents Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar with the Gerald Wilkins Award during a special meeting Monday night. (Photo by Michael Pineda)

Editor’s note — The online version represents a correction for bond tax and sales tax revenue dispersal.

By Michael Pineda
Staff Writer

A package of infrastructure improvements and quality of life facilities have been identified by the Yukon Capital Advisory Committee and signed off on by the Yukon City Council.

Now, it will fall upon city of Yukon voters to approve the necessary tax increase at the polls.

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In a 5-0 vote during a special meeting Monday night, the council voted to move forward with seven propositions that would be funded with a 20-year, 15-mil property tax. A $0.25-cent sales tax will also be on the ballot to fund other items of need. 

The seven propositions are:

1.10th Street, Yukon Parkway to Garth Brooks Boulevard, $14,755,000
2. Garth Brooks Boulevard, Vandament Avenue to NW 10th Street, $9,700,000 million
3. Water
29,000 feet well line replacement, $5,437,500
20,239 feet water line replacement, $2,536,967
4. Sewer
20,123 feet of sewer line replacement, $2,761,932
Lift station upgrades, $175,000
5. Wastewater treatment plant, $7,000,000
6. Fire Station #3, $6,450,000
7.
Multi-generational recreation center with indoor aquatic center – recreation center, $23,309,125; new library, $8,775,000

In total, the estimated cost of all proposed projects is $80,900,524. The recommendation calls for a vote on Jan. 10, 2023. Sales tax revenue will fund operational costs for the fire station, recreation center and the library. 

One mil on a $100,000 home represents $10 tax annually. A tax of 15 bonds on a $100,000 home is $150 or $12.50 each month.

“There’s certain things that just have to be done,” Council person Aric Gilliland, who also served on the advisory committee, said. “The streets and the pipes, the water to and from our homes. When you add up the possible bond’s total dollar amount, and or sales tax amount, once you do the things that have to be done, there isn’t a whole lot left over. So, the question sometimes is, why aren’t we proposing this or why don’t we propose that?

“Once we propose the things that have to be done, we are very limited from that point. Part of the conversation we need to have with our fellow residents is that. We need roads to drive on and we got to carry water to and from our businesses and homes. 

“But I do believe that we can set a vision in five years from now, when we begin to see the progress that we make with some of these bonds and we can literally say, let’s keep going and do some really cool things.”

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Both City Manager Tammy Kretchmar and Capital Advisory Committee Chairman David Enmark spoke on the possibility of rolling over the 15-mil property tax once projects are paid off for the purpose of added more projects. Kretchmar also pointed out that residents will vote on projects separately and some may be approved while others may not. 

“It will be up to the people,” she said.

While citizens indicated they were not in favor of a property tax, Enmark said it made the most sense because it was guaranteed funding when compared to sales tax. Should revenue fall short, it would throw the budget out of alignment. 

During the study session, Enmark lined out the committee’s recommendations and highlighted the citizen’s response to a survey which indicated resurfacing major streets, infrastructure and a multigenerational facility were the three key priorities. The committee took into consideration a recent bond vote in Bethany where voters approved four different propositions for city improvements. 

‘All of those bonds passed, I think there is a message here that people want to invest in their community,” Enmark said. “They are willing to do that and invest in the places they live.”

The council also voted 5-0 to authorize Kretchmar to solicit proposals for services for the proposed capital improvement projects needing design concepts and cost estimates. 

Kretchmar receives award

Prior to the city council meeting, Kretchmar was presented with the Gerald Wilkins Award by Jason Orr, President of the City Management Association of Oklahoma.  

“It’s given out to a city manager who is credited with strengthening the city management form of government through their stable link of service to cities, their dedication to civic activities, their participation and contribution to city management association of Oklahoma and also one of the most important, their dedication and commitment to our code of ethics,” Orr said.

Kretchmar has been with Yukon since 1996 and has served as the city manager since 2021. Orr pointed out the city had been through financial difficulties several years ago and credited Kretchmar with helping the city move forward.

“Tammy has been able to rebuild trust with the community,” Orr said. “She has done so with respect and grace.”

Orr made the presentation to Kretchmar during the meeting because she was unable to attend the CMAO conference this summer due to COVID. She said she was speechless when she found out that she had won the award.

“Never in a million years did I think I would get this award,” Kretchmar said. “I am humbled, it’s a great honor and I will do my utmost best to keep the respect and ethic as I see fit. I believe my morals and my ethics have proven that and they will continue to be the same.”

Kretchmar thanked the city council for its support and the opportunity to serve as the city manager. 

Kretchmar is also a past recipient of the Don Ryder Award for outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to their community and profession. 

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