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Duncan Residents to Vote on Road Repair

DUNCAN, Okla_ City officials in Duncan say they'd love to change drivers' bumpy ride across town into a smooth one, but they're going to need some help.

Next week, the citizens of Duncan will head to the polls and vote on a $9M road bond. If the bond passes, the money generated will help pay for the repairs of around 250 streets across the city.

Citizens agree across the board that something needs to be done about their crumbling roads. They say when it comes to how to fund those repairs though, it's a toss up. It's a situation they've faced before.

In 2007, the city sought the public's approval for a major street improvement effort. Voters had two options to pay for it: either by a tax hike or by bond. Citizens declined both, and the city took out a $10M loan to make the repairs. They say loans carry high-interest rates, and that option is not something they'd like to resort to again.

They're bumpy roads that have been patched, chipped, and patched again. Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn said the problem is only growing.

"The roads are rough and bumpy," Vaughn said. "Many people feel the need to swerve to avoid pot holes. Periodically, unfortunately, city crews will be out there making repairs."

Duncan City Manager Jim Frieda said the success of the bond will make a big impact on the city's streets, but not your wallet.

"On a $150,000 piece of property, the cost to the citizens in one year would be less than a $100," Frieda said. "It would be logical. If property owners that have rental property wanted to pass the costs onto their renters, it would be a very minimal amount."

Vaughn said crumbling streets equals a crumbling economy two-fold.

"If you like a home that's on a street that is in bad shape that might be a distraction from you buying that home, it's really related to the sales tax for the small mom and pops aspect," Vaughn said. "If folks have a hard time getting to your business because your streets are in disrepair, then they are going to be less likely to come to your business."

While Frieda said it's a toss up how the bond will be received, he said he just hopes whatever the turn-out, the final decision is one everyone will be satisfied with as a result of their actions.

"If it's voted down and we have a large citizen participation, it tells me two things: if they vote it down, then they're really not that interested in the streets, and it also shows me there's citizen participation," Frieda said. "Then, they can't turn around and point the finger and say 'I would have voted, if I thought it was going to pass.' So, we would love to see it. People think about what they're going to do. If they vote it down, then they'd rather not spend the money and keep the streets in their condition."

You can vote on the bond next Tuesday. If you'd like to see if your street will be repaired, you can find a complete list on Duncan's web page at www.cityofduncan.com.

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