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Public input sought on new CIP

City Council members will discuss two proposals for a new Capital Improvements Program when they meet Wednesday in special session, a meeting also planned to give residents an opportunity to offer comments.

The meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Lawton City Hall, marks only the second public discussion of projects that have been crafted for that new CIP.

The council was presented Tuesday with $70.1 million worth of projects that would be funded by extending two existing sales taxes: A one-half percent tax, now allocated to Lawton Public Schools, that will expire Dec. 31 and a three-eighths percent tax, dubbed the 2008 CIP, which will expire June 30, 2015. After council discussions about the proposal and its projects, City Manager Bryan Long offered a second option, one that added $24 million for police and fire personnel and equipment and kept the new seventh-eighths percent sales tax, but added a mill levy to cover the $33.775 million estimated cost to build a new police station, jail and municipal court. The difference is one year: With Long's mill levy component there would be one year less of sales tax.

Long said the original council-proposed list was crafted after he met with three council members to solicit input. Those three  Ward 2 Councilman Keith Jackson, Ward 4 Councilman Jay Burk and Ward 8 Councilman Doug Wells  said Tuesday they had been meeting for weeks with city administrators and other entities in the community to craft a broad-based plan that covered what they felt were the most pressing community needs, the plan unveiled to the public Tuesday.

Most council members offered opinions on the council-proposed tax plan during Tuesday's council meeting, but didn't know enough about Long's alternate to make comments. Several were startled by that last-minute proposal, but Long said it shouldn't have been a surprise because he told the three councilmen he didn't agree with their proposal.

The Lawton Constitution

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