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OKC Civic Life for Monday, May 13, 2019

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Councilwoman seeks public forum for police chief candidates

Ward 7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice is calling for an open forum for residents to get "a grasp of who" the candidates for police chief are. Nice said Little Rock, Arkansas, took that approach in hiring former Norman police Chief Keith Humphrey, who is black.

"That was with the community being active and involved and actually sitting (and) asking questions of candidates," Nice said last week. Oklahoma City should consider doing the same thing, she said, "especially when it comes to … making sure we are having openness when it comes to community policing." Bill Citty, who retired this month after 15 years as chief of police, drew accolades for his commitment to reaching out to residents of Oklahoma City's minority communities.

Of note: City Manager Craig Freeman has not announced whether candidates to succeed Citty have been interviewed, or whether finalists have been selected. Jeffrey Becker was named interim chief.

Marijuana taxes add up

Oklahoma City has received about $180,200 in sales taxes on marijuana transactions since medical marijuana was legalized last year. Marijuana-related sales tax revenue has increased each month since last October. The total is a fraction of retail activity, though. The $66,400 received in April was about 0.2% of city sales tax collections for the month.

Sales tax growth steady

Oklahoma City sales tax revenue for May is up 1.5% from May 2018. May sales tax results were reported Friday and are based on collections the last two weeks of March and first two weeks of April. The city received $40.5 million from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, after accounting for the state’s processing fee and interest.

Of note: With one month left in the fiscal year, general fund sales tax revenue is 0.2% above the budget target, for a total of $234.7 million.

They said it

"We're on track to make that happen."

— Public Works Director Eric Wenger, in a report to the city council on progress toward repairing out-of-order streetlights. Wenger released a schedule last month promising all streetlight repairs would be done by the end of September. Work is off to a good start, Wenger said: "We've made a huge improvement in the list."

Briefly: Executive salaries, duties

• The recently appointed assistant city managers, Aubrey McDermid and Kenton Tsoodle, will earn $199,821.60 annually. They began their new duties May 3.

Geoffrey Butler was named interim Planning Director after former McDermid was promoted from planning director to assistant city manager.

• Tsoodle will continue as interim finance director in addition to his duties as assistant city manager.

Present/absent

Mayor David Holt and the eight city council members attended last week's meeting.

Calendar

The city council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave., for the second of three public hearings on the 2019-20 budget.

William Crum, wcrum@oklahoman.com Twitter: @williamcrum

William Crum

OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman. Read more ›

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