TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:
Zack Smith brought up some valid thoughts in his Letter to the Editor on Jan. 2 regarding the bond issue the mayor and city council have proposed.
I agree with Mr. Smith completely on the need for capital improvements which should have been started many years ago in a methodical and intelligent way. Department heads can only do so much with what they have been allocated in the past budgets and we find ourselves with a lot of things the city owns in need of repair and replacement. I also agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Smith on the uncanny ability that NSU has to extract money from the city's needs, then charge us for using their facilities.
The proposal for use of the bond money is not going to please everyone but it does go a long way in attempting to get caught up on modernizing the city and making it a more friendly and safe place in which to live. I also agree with Mr. Smith on the extreme amount of money that falls between the cracks on a bond issue. A million dollars to go for arranging the bond. Out of that there will be money paid to people for their “help” in getting the bond passed. I believe everyone who benefits should be listed and let the citizens decide if they think this is a fair way of doing business. That would be part of the “openness” that is so much in need now that money is tight.
I couldn't agree more with your take on the NSU involvement in the city's finances. They seem to have an endless supply of money from the federal government, state and other sources and should be able to live within their budget. I suspect that most of their classrooms have a utility value of about 5 percent of available time. Their existence should be based on education, not building empires, kingdoms and amassing stuff.
The fact is that we have a city that needs improvement for the drivers, kids and people who live here and also those who visit. Schools should stand on their own and should keep their hands out of the public money, wherever it comes from. I would suspect the million dollars for arranging the bond election could be negotiated and leave out the bribes or money going back to city employees for their “help” in looking over the documents.
Zack said he would reluctantly vote no on the bonds, and I will reluctantly vote yes in the hope that we can get a lot of bang for the bond buck rather than just continue the tradition that Tahlequah has had in the past.
Some of the past elected officials had a habit of back-scratching and ego-building when it comes to city money, and hopefully we are past that. Let's fix the roads, make a nice place for the kids to play rather than going the drug route, and enhance the raw beauty we have in our little paradise in eastern Oklahoma.
We can either take a chance on the future or sit on our hands and assume the worst is going to happen.