MOORE, OKLA (Free Press) – The Moore City Council met for the first time this month on Monday, June 6th passing the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 City budget and choosing to withdraw from the Regional Transportation Authority.
Incremental progress was made on the general obligation (GO) bond issues voters passed back in November, along with other than a unanimous vote, rare for the usually united Moore City Council.
FY 2022-23 Budget
The new Moore City Budget is very similar to the 2021-22 budget, but Mayor Glenn Lewis explained some adjustments the city did have to make.
As inflation increases to a multi-decade high, Moore has had to budget significantly more for goods, especially for fuels.
“We did not expect the price of fuel to double, and it has.”
According to AAA Gas Prices, the year ago average regular gas price in Oklahoma was $2.74. Now, that price has increased to $4.49, but this does not factor in the myriad of other fuel types used in municipal logistics.
Mayor Lewis also spoke about how the City has “Added a couple of police officers for the school system, and a few new police cars.”
Budget increases like these have been successfully balanced by increased business, resulting in higher sales tax revenue.
The proposed budget was passed unanimously, and will take effect July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. A detailed summary can be found on the city’s website.
Regional Transportation Authority
The City of Moore has decided to withdraw from the Regional Transportation Authority of Central Oklahoma (RTA).
The RTA was originally created by resolution in the five member city councils – Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Norman, and Oklahoma City – but has recently been called into question by Moore officials.
According to Mayor Lewis, the RTA planned on connecting these cities through a railway transit system, but has failed to show any value for Moore.
“They said we couldn’t have a station at first… [They] wanted Moore to fund it with an additional sales tax.”
The council has held that the RTA was not delivering any meaningful transportation solution while also using Moore’s tax money, all while the Citizens of Moore expressed how they wanted a bus-based mass transit system.
The Council made it clear that this withdrawal does not end future mass transit systems in Moore, as both Mayor Lewis and Councilor Danielle McKenzie of Ward 1 would say in discussion.
“I do think we should just actively pursue some kind of bus route or something for our citizens… The option for public transportation is not there [right now]” said council member McKenzie, rounding off a united council vote to withdraw from the RTA.
The City Council passed an item which finishes the funding for the Residential Street Projects and starts funding the Animal Shelter project, both included in the Go bonds voters passed last November.
City Manager Brooks Mitchell explained that these street projects will “commence in the next few weeks,” meaning that construction will begin a little over six months after the vote.
The Moore City Council rarely has anything but a unanimous vote. But, this time, Mayor Lewis voted against paying for next year’s Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) services.
The OML provides a collective voice for municipal governments on both the state and federal level, but Lewis believes this is not necessary for Moore, a relatively large city with in-house legal services.
He said he sat on the OML board for 14 years, and the organization struggled to offer benefits to relatively large cities who already fund similar services.
Although he stated that this is his own personal opinion and that the rest of the council voted to stay a member city in OML, it constitutes one of the few times the City Council outright disagreed on a decision.
The next Moore City Council meeting will be Monday, June 20th at 6:30 PM.
Last Updated June 8, 2022, 9:39 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor