Lawton, Oklahoma City Council Decided What to Spend Surplus Taxes On
Just under a month ago, the Lawton City Council was reaching out to citizens for their input on what to do with $5.5-ish million in surplus tax dollars.
While there were limits to where the money could be applied, the obvious public cry was for roads since they're quite literally crumbling to dust... but that's not what the council elected to do with it. Instead, they've opted for the following.
According to Lawton Finance Director Jeo Dunham, the money will be used to make improvements to the McMahon Auditorium and Lawton City Hall, adding that other portions of the money could go toward the Lawton municipal airport.
As much as I also want to see more of an effort to deliver on those 'new roads for Lawton" promises, it does make sense the council opted to appropriate funding to improve the McMahon Auditorium. It might be the best venue for music in Lawton, but it suffers just as our roads do.
We often used McMahon for a lot of the events that we used to host here in town, and to be quite honest, the lack of handicap accessibility became a very sore and touchy subject. With improvements to bring this building up to code, along with changing out those nasty acoustic drapes, McMahon could see a resurgence in popularity beyond the few staple events it hosts still.
The mention of making improvements to city hall only raises more questions since it's essentially still brand new. What improvements could be made to a practically new building?
All the same, the new Tyler Technology software system the city opted for in 2022 has been a giant failure for Lawton thus far, with no expected timeframe for the fix. Could this be what Joe Dunham's blanket statement could be referring to?
I can't tell you how many emails I get each month from citizens complaining how they still can't access the online bill pay with no help or support from city personnel. These citizens claim they've been given the old runaround for the last 14 months since they failed to implement the new system.
Even worse, when these citizens do reach out to the mayor's office or their city council representatives, I've been told they all play the blame game, offering next to zero help and refusing to take any semblance of responsibility.
I can't speak to any needed improvements with the Lawton Airport, never been there.
Is the City of Lawton making responsible decisions with your tax monies?
As a friendly reminder, you are more than entitled to reach out to your city councilor to express your views on how they can better be your voice in such matters. You'll find your councilor and their contact information here.
If you'd like to reach out to Mayor Stan Booker, you'll be able to contact him on the mayor's page here.
If you'd rather reach out directly, most email addresses in public service and private sector are simply the first and last name separated by a period--ie: firstname.lastname@example.org.