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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — In addition to a whopping 27 zoning cases, The City Council of Oklahoma City voted Tuesday to table indefinitely a resolution to signal the Council’s “intent to uphold the Constitutional oath of office taken by each Councilmember.”

Later the Convention and Visitors Bureau brought officials from the National Futsal Association to introduce the Council to their sport.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, two members of the Oklahoma County government were present to ask for TIF money for some improvements on County buildings in Downtown OKC. Also in line for more money for a project was Gary Brooks and his First National Building project, which will be receiving HUD money through a loan to the City.

Marty Peercy reports Local government

Oath Resolution

Free Press reported two weeks ago that the freshman councilors from Wards 1 and 3, Bradley Carter and Barbara Young respectively, introduced a resolution calling for upholding the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions. 

As Mayor David Holt was not present at that meeting, Carter asked to defer the vote so that the Mayor could vote on the resolution.

The Council took up the resolution again on Tuesday morning.

Neither Carter nor Young explained the purpose of the resolution. Instead, Carter immediately introduced and moved the item.

Ward 6 Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon asked to add an amendment to the resolution. She said that her resolution would actually make the resolution in question have something to do with City business.

Her amendment stated that the City’s panhandling ordinance was struck down by the 10th Circuit Court on the grounds that it violated the Constitution. Later the case was rejected for hearing by the Supreme Court, thus affirming the Circuit Court’s stance that the ordinance was unconstitutional. 

Hamon’s amendment included an affirmation by the Council that the ordinance they passed years ago was a violation of the Constitution.

Hamon moved her amendment, but before a second was heard, Ward 4 Councilman Todd Stone asked to comment.

“Demeaning”

Stone then said that he has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution twice as a city councilor, and before that, when he was in the military, he swore an oath to defend the Constitution.

Stone called the resolution “demeaning.”

He went on to say that over recent years, City Council meetings have turned into opportunities for people to grandstand. Resolutions, he pointed out, have no real legal weight or authority, but are symbolic gestures.

Traditionally, he said, the Council shies away from resolutions for that reason. He also bemoaned the inefficiency of creating resolutions and debating them, dragging meetings on into the afternoons frequently.

“This doesn’t fix streets. It doesn’t improve the sewers or trash pick-ups,” Stone said of the resolution.

Stone then abruptly moved to table the resolution indefinitely.

A motion to table takes precedence over motions for amendments or a motion to vote on the item.

The Council voted 5-4 in favor of tabling the resolution. Carter and Young, Ward 5’s David Greenwell, and Mark Stonecipher of Ward 8 voted against tabling the resolution.

Futsal

In a rather long presentation ostensibly by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, three representatives of the national Futsal organization and US Youth Soccer explained the sport and its future in Oklahoma City.

For those unfamiliar, futsal is similar to soccer, but incorporating some aspects of basketball and hockey. The court is much smaller than a soccer pitch and is a hard surface. The game is, according to some, faster-paced than traditional soccer.

Many professional soccer players have pointed to futsal as a great development tool for players to train and improve their skills.

The National Futsal Tournament will be coming to Oklahoma City in February of 2022. The tournament will be housed in the new Convention Center and is expected to bring several thousand visitors to the area.

The presentation spoke to efforts to increase futsal courts around the City, as well as instructing adults in the area to be coaches and referees for the sport.

In future tournaments in Oklahoma City, organizers hope to draw from local referee talent rather than having to bring people in from across the country to officiate games.

County TIF

Forrest “Butch” Freeman, Oklahoma County Treasurer, and County Engineer Stacey Trumbo were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

The County has several pressing improvements to some of its buildings in the Downtown TIF 2 area.

The first project listed is to remodel the envelope of the Investors Capital Building. Pieces of the marble facade have been falling off of the building creating not only an eyesore but a safety concern. The project has been in planning by the county for several years.

Another project is to replace elevators in the Courthouse Annex building. The Annex hosts the offices of the County Clerk, County Treasurer, County Court Clerk, and others. The elevators have seen a lot of traffic and are in need of repair and replacement.

Another project at the Annex is to remodel the entrance to offer more space for people to be out of the weather when entering the Annex but still have appropriate social distance.

The final project listed is to construct an attractive wall on the west side of the Annex to protect the columns on that side of the building.

The Council approved a $5 million allocation from Increment District for those projects.

First National Building

The ongoing project to renovate and reclaim the glory of the old First National Building is still moving along. Gary Brooks, the developer behind the project, was on hand at Tuesday’s City Council meeting to ask, through municipal counselor Wiley Williams, for the City to take out a loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Section 108 loan, provided by HUD, is to assist in the completion of the hotel portion of the project.

The Council approved taking out a loan in the amount of $11,242,000.

City Council will hold their next meeting on October 26 at 8:30 a.m.


Last Updated October 12, 2021, 3:50 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor