By Conrad Dudderar
Strong finances indicate the city of Yukon is on solid footing.
That was the message Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar delivered to business and community leaders in her 2023 “State of the City” address.
“I’m really proud to say the city is in great financial shape,” Kretchmar said at the Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s May membership luncheon.
Yukon’s positive annual audit and improved financial condition were highlights of the city manager’s 18-minute presentation.
“We have collectively done a great job with our finances,” she told the audience. “It takes the whole city to have a ‘clean’ audit, which means there were no ‘findings’, no issues with our budget.”
Yukon’s Performeter score increased from 7.6 in 2021 to 8.1 (on a scale of 0-10) in 2022. Accounting consultant Frank Crawford developed this model to gauge financial health and performance of government entities across the U.S.
Yukon’s Performeter score had dipped below 5 during an economic crisis in 2015, but it’s gradually risen since then.
Meanwhile, the city’s sales tax revenues are up 6.21% year-to-date compared to the same period last year.
“All of our reserves are fully funded,” Kretchmar added. “Twenty five percent of our budget from the last year has to be put in a savings account … in case there were any type of disaster.”
Kretchmar talked to Yukon Chamber members about these new and soon-to-open businesses in Yukon city limits:
Mardel Christian & Education store, Country Equipment, Twisted Axes Throw House, Krell’s East Coast Deli, Panang Thai Restaurant, HTeaO fresh-brewed tea store, and Seven Brew coffee drive-thru.
“And Casey’s has done some remodels to their stores here, and they are really nice,” Kretchmar said.
A LOOK BACK …
In her recent State of the City presentation, Yukon’s city manager discussed street upgrades and other capital projects completed over the past year.
The list features a resurfaced concrete section of Wagner Road from State Highway 4 to Yukon Parkway.
The stretch from Yukon Parkway to Sara Road is proposed in the Yukon’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget.
“I know a lot of people are going to be excited about that,” Kretchmar said. “That roadway is in desperate need of repair.”
Kretchmar talked about a newly completed project to resurface and upgrade the outdoor tennis courts at Yukon City Park and Kimbell Park.
“For years, we have had problems with our tennis courts; they looked terrible,” she told the Yukon Chamber audience. “They really ‘pop’ now. … they’re just beautiful.”
New courts are now available to both tennis and pickleball players.
Other highlights of the past 12 months in the city of Yukon include:
- A nine-hole, 27-par disc golf course at Welch Park – built entirely with donations through the Yukon Community Support Foundation – opened this spring at Welch Park.
- A new drainage box was installed to improve water runoff near the intersection of Sara and Wagner roads.
- A street light pole was replaced at Vandament/Garth Brooks Boulevard after the previous pole was destroyed in a traffic collision.
- A new rescue truck and utility terrain vehicle for Yukon Fire, eight new sport utility vehicles for Yukon Police, two new trash trucks for Yukon Sanitation, and two large mowers for Yukon Park Maintenance were purchased.
- Kimbell Bay Pool was renovated and reopened at Kimbell Park.
- The “Yukon Sunset” Route 66 mural, funded by donations and grants, was painted on the side of the Yukon Main Street office building next to Yukon City Hall.
- Last fall, the city was awarded Oklahoma “Film Friendly” certification. Producers and businesses are now eligible for incentives – funded through Yukon’s hotel-motel tax – to film movies and commercials here.
COMING UP …
Work is underway on a new inclusive playground and splash pad at Freedom Trail Park, partially funded with a federal recreation grant.
“We had to take out all of the equipment that was in that park,” Kretchmar explained. “We know it is very favorable to everyone because many people come from out of town just to go to that park to play.”
New large playground equipment, swings and shade structures will be installed this summer and early fall. The project should be finished in October.
“It’s just going to be absolutely beautiful,” Kretchmar pledged.
Looking ahead, Yukon motorists will see phase two of the SH-4 widening project from Main Street north to the North Canadian River bridge. Construction is due to start this summer after utility relocation is complete.
Among other upcoming projects in the city of Yukon are:
- A new pedestrian crossing will be installed at Yukon Parkway and Ranchwood along with a sidewalk in front of Yukon High School connecting to the Stone Mill retail shopping center. A federal transportation grant will pay for most of this project.
- A new multi-modal trail will be installed on the west side of Garth Brooks Boulevard under Interstate 40 from the Fairfield Inn hotel to the Braum’s store. Grant funds also will be used for this wide sidewalk.
- A section of Garth Brooks Boulevard from Vandament to Main Street (SH-66) will receive a new asphalt overlay installed by an Oklahoma Department of Transportation contractor.
- New striping will be painted on various streets across Yukon as part of the city’s capital budget.
- Aging water and sewer lines will be replaced and upgrades will be made to the wastewater treatment plant. Yukon received $4.9 million in federal funds from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and city officials anticipate receiving a share of Canadian County’s $28.8 million ARPA award.