City manager explains municipal questions on ballot

Kathryn SwanJC Correspondent

The Journal-Capital visited with Interim City Manager Mike McCartney about how the four propositions listed on the Nov. 4, ballot will affect Pawhuska.

Two will modify the City Charter and two are an extension of existing sales taxes totaling one percent.

“Propositions 1 and 2 are about amending the City Charter’s election dates,” said McCartney. “It’s just a formality we have to go through because it was set in the Charter.”

Proposition 1 states a declaration of candidacy must be filed with the county election board no earlier than 8 a.m. on the first Monday in December and no later than 5 p.m. on the next succeeding Wednesday of each year.

Proposition 2 specifies the terms for City Councilmen shall begin at 5:30 p.m. on the first Monday in May following their election. The council shall hold a meeting at that time. Those whose terms are beginning shall be inducted into office. If a councilman-elect fails to qualify within one month thereafter, his office shall become vacant; and the council shall fill the vacancy. The council shall hold at least one regular meeting every month at such time or times as it may prescribe by ordinance or otherwise. The mayor or any three councilmen may call special meetings. All council meetings shall be open to the public with the minutes open to public inspection.

“It is important for people to understand that Propositions 3 and 4 are not new taxes,” explained McCartney. “There are no changes. We are just renewing what we have been doing since the 1980s. Last time the measures passed 3 to 1. I’m hoping for this much support this year.

“Proposition 3 is an extension of the quarter cent sales which funds Pawhuska’s 1989 Economic Development Program,” he said.

Funds are limited to marketing, prospect development, administration and operational expenses, site development, engineering work, possible auctioning and/or acquisition of development property and sustaining operations. In the last five years, downtown Pawhuska has experienced resurgence in growth. This is evidenced by the Prairie Dog, Townmaker Square, Osage Outfitters, Premier Gun & Pawn, Big Country Pawn, Onhand Printing, Joe Don Brave’s Art Gallery, Sweeney’s, the Flower Shoppe, Comin’ Home Antiques, the relocation and expansion of Big Country Pawn, The Cedar Chest, Crystal Barber Shop, Tallgrass Prairie Flowers & More.

Additional new businesses include McDonald’s and O’Reilly’s east of town. Sister’s Attic has created an attractive and eye-catching store front. Scott Roughton has reclaimed two historic downtown buildings for his family-friendly Grill 125. Ladd and Ree Drummond have spurred worldwide interest and made Pawhuska, Okla., a household name through their rescue efforts to save two key downtown buildings.

“Some years ago when I was on the Chamber board, everyone was talking about tourism,” McCartney said. “Tourism doesn’t work if there’s no place to shop. We had to build our downtown retail area with mom and pop businesses before we could build tourism. This is the trend for rural communities. Pawhuska is now to the point where tourism can be promoted.”

Proposition 4 is the continuation of the 1984 three-quarter sales tax that funds City sidewalks and streets.

“It takes several years to save up for big projects, “noted McCartney. “Proposition 4 also enables the City to address a variety of small projects throughout the year. Street maintenance is an ongoing process and a part of the City’s long-range plans which are under constant review. There is always a need for sidewalks and maintenance.”

Proposition 4 provided funding for the Grandview Project, the sidewalk that joins Indian Camp School to Boundary down 15th Street and the walking trail that crosses the school campus past the School Administration Building. Most recently, Brenner, Smith, 13th and 14th were paved and gutters created for the first time.

“Many folks may not have realized these needs since these areas are not on the main thoroughfares,” McCartney said.

McCartney concluded by saying, “Our entire community will benefit by voting Yes on Nov. 4.”

Sample ballots are available at the Election Board.