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Council agrees on CIP, budget

The City Council has reached unanimous agreement on the terms of an 11-year Capital Improvements Program and indicated it is essentially done with the 2014-2015 budget.

The decisions came Friday during a special meeting that was slightly longer than an hour, initially set as the council's first workshop for the budget that will go into effect July 1. On Tuesday, Mayor Fred Fitch added discussion of the 2015 CIP to Friday's agenda after noting council members were not in agreement on the proposed projects, the length of time the CIP would run or the date on which the proposal would be submitted to voters.

None of those disagreements were evident Friday as council members unanimously agreed with Ward 2 Councilman Keith Jackson's proposal to accept the previously outlined 11-year program, which will fund $100.9 million worth of projects via a seven-eighths percent sales tax that would begin Jan. 1, 2015, and replace two other sales taxes set to expire. And, while the council didn't vote on the budget, members indicated they agreed with the provisions made by city administrators, with only minor exceptions.

Friday's actions do not mean the council's job is done.

Council members still must take formal action on the ordinance that will set the specifics of the CIP and exactly what projects it will fund, and the ballot resolution setting the wording residents will see when they go to the polls Aug. 26. On the budget side, the council is expected to hear how the minor adjustments were made, then will hold a public hearing (expected for June 10) to receive comments from residents before taking the final vote that will set what is now a preliminary budget into law.

The Lawton Constitution

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