Officials discuss special election

The city manager and City Council members discussed the March 7 special election during Tuesday’s work session and City Council meeting.
The special election is for the approval of a general obligation (GO) bond of $18 million for the purpose of constructing a new sports park at the southwest corner of the intersection of Frisco Road and Highway 66.
The $18 million bond would only be for Phase I of the sports park, which includes nine outdoor soccer fields, spectator seating, scoreboards, concession, restroom facilities, maintenance facilities, landscaping, sidewalks and parking lots. Also included in the GO bond would be widening Frisco Road to four lanes. Other athletic facilities will be added as funds allow.
The proposition for the sports park that will appear on the ballot, reads:
“Shall the City of Yukon, Oklahoma, incur an indebtedness by issuing registered bonds in the sum of Eighteen Million Dollars ($18,000,000) to provide funds for the purpose of constructing, equipping and acquiring property for a new sports park at the southwest corner of the intersection of Frisco Road and Highway 66, to include outdoor soccer fields, related buildings, infrastructure improvements and property acquisition (Phase I), and thereafter to the extent funds are available, construction and equipping of other athletic fields at the new sports park, to be owned exclusively by said City and completed with or without the use of other funds, and levy and collect an annual tax, in addition to all other taxes, upon all the taxable property in said City sufficient to pay the interest on said bonds as it falls due, and also to constitute a sinking fund for the payment of the principal thereof when due, said bonds to bear interest at a rate not to exceed ten percent (10%) per annum, payable semi-annually, and to become due serially within ten years from their date?”
The ballot will include the options “For the above Proposition – Yes” and “Against the above Proposition – No.”
The GO bond’s maximum property tax increase would be about $133.27 per $100,000 house during its highest year, which would be in 2020. The total tax increase would be an average of less than $100 per year, Mayor John Alberts said during Tuesday’s meeting.
During the work session, City Manager Jim Crosby said the city is doing multiple things to advertise the election and the sports park.
The motto for the election is “Vote Yes for Yukon,” which appears on all brochures and yard signs that are going out as a way to better advertise and explain the proposed sports park.
Crosby hosted a meeting with local sports leaders Monday evening as a way to explain the sports park, but some non-sports leaders also showed up to the meeting to show their discontent with the proposed bond.
“I tried to answer any questions to let them know—they wanted to know what the money is going to be used for,” Crosby said.
Adding that a little more than $3 million will go to paying off an existing loan from the property.
Crosby explained that the sports park will also be tied in with the Great Wolf Lodge-like waterpark, which wouldn’t belong to Yukon but would bring more people into the city.
“It’ll be a destination area for the city,” Crosby previously told the Yukon Review. “In this day and age, cities and governments aren’t doing very well. The economy is pretty tough out there. I think, in looking at it, it’ll be a great benefit to the community and we certainly hope that people will look at it.
“For our town, it’s very critical that we get this passed and move forward.”
Crosby said a flyer will be going out to the community soon with more information, but there will be a walk the Saturday before the election. At about 9 a.m. March 4 the walk will start outside the Centennial Building, 12 S. 5th St., to bring attention to the election and spread the word of how it would be beneficial to Yukon.
If the weather is bad, the walk will be moved to Sunday, March 5.
“We’re trying to get people to get their friends out, and their neighbors, and communicate with as many people as possible the importance of this election not only on the quality of life for the community, but also for the economic improvement to the community. This will make a major impact on our sales tax with bringing all the tournaments and stuff in,” Crosby said.
He added that when people come in for tournaments, they’re assigned to hotels so visitors will be staying in Yukon hotels and eating at Yukon restaurants.
“We are certainly looking forward to it and hopefully it’ll be a successful election,” Crosby said.
Although Crosby is staying positive about the special election, he knows there are people who don’t agree with it.
“I don’t get on Facebook, but I hear there are a few people hounding us on Facebook. These are the same people that don’t like us anyway and they’re against everything,” Crosby said. “We’ve been out answering all of these questions and so far, we’ve had a pretty good response. Now, what that means in the long run… it depends on who gets out and votes.”
Mike McEachern, vice mayor and Council member for Ward 4, used some of his time for Council discussion as a chance to encourage people to get out and vote on March 7.
“I’m encouraging everyone to get out and vote, for or against. It’s important that we, as a community, come together and decide where we’re going long term. Looking at our future, I think it’s really important,” McEachern said.
Richard Russell, Council member for Ward 1, also encouraged people to vote.
“Don’t complain about it unless you get out and vote yourself,” Russell said.
The mayor followed pursuit, using most of his time to discuss the election.
“As the other gentleman have mentioned, on March 7 we have an opportunity for our community. An opportunity that brings, in my mind, three or four different opportunities,” Alberts said. “First of all, it’s a great opportunity for our families, for our children, for people to have some facilities that are indicative of this community. We are a first rate community and we deserve a first rate facility for our children, our grandchildren, our family members and our friends to play on. We have that opportunity.
“What goes along with that opportunity is we have the opportunity for economic impact. I believe that as you will see the Frisco Road area grow, that pot hole-covered mile of whatever you want to call it now will be four lane curb and gutter. I’m anxious and hopeful that land will start to develop, and the key that starts this thing probably is the exchange, but the catalyst to move it forward is probably this park because over time, that park will bring people to our community and they will support the business that grows along Frisco Road.”
Alberts said he’s seen signs in citizens’ yards that say “Vote no,” but he doesn’t understand why anyone would vote no.
“There’s a lot of reasons to vote no on a lot of things, but if there’s a reason to vote no, it’s not on this thing because the benefit is not just the children. It’s not just to the old people. It’s not just to the young people, the middle-aged people, it’s to the entire community. The entire community will benefit from this opportunity that we have,” he said. “One issue is about the cost. There’s a lot of information. If you need the information, please seek out a reliable source. There’s some sources on the internet. They’re just wrong. The information that they pass out is wrong.”
If anyone needs more information on the sports park or the GO bond, visit the city manager’s office located at Yukon City Hall, 500 W. Main St., or call 350-3939.

4 Comments

  1. Amanda Sapcutt on February 27, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    What happened to not raising taxes to build this park? Just a year ago it was promised that there would be no tax increases but clearly that’s no longer the case to help pay for the Bonds. This is unacceptable. There’s a better way to improve our fields and draw people in to Yukon. Putting on the backs of taxpayers and claiming that it will only benefit Yukon is not fiscally responsible.

  2. Shaun Mach on March 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Love how Yukon cuts education funding to the bone, won’t allow new businesses to build where Yukon can collect taxes, but by god when our uneducated children work at Walmart they can brag about the nice soccer fields they played on.

  3. Bryan harter on March 7, 2017 at 7:07 am

    The city manager misplaced millions of dollars, now yukon wants tax payers to pay for it??

  4. Trisha Huffhines on March 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Calling taxpayers who oppose this bond “haters” is insulting. Burdening taxpayers with this increase to go for extraneous items when clearly more money should be sent toward our education system is ridiculous – especially after the “missing funds” debacle.

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