Council avoids vote, remains divided over 2015 CIP proposal - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Council avoids vote, remains divided over 2015 CIP proposal

LAWTON, Okla._ A divided city council avoided a vote, yet again, on a $100 million proposal for improvement projects citywide.

The current plan for the 2015 capital improvement project is to fund more than 20 projects with money generated by two existing sales taxes that would be extended for 11 years.

The council has been in disagreement since the C.I.P. was unveiled earlier this month. Three different proposals have come before the council in the past three weeks.

Each week, the list of projects the city wants to fund has grown. Some say it is now too big, while other councilmembers are arguing the list is inclusive and addresses some of the city's biggest concerns.

“It’s a good program that will push the City of Lawton into the future, and I would strongly urge the councilmembers to approve this,” says Keith Jackson, Ward 2.

Jackson was the only councilmember who wanted to vote on a final proposal Tuesday night. He helped create the plan, alongside councilmen Jay Burk and Doug Wells; but, neither of them backed Jackson’s wishes. Burk said he wanted the council to have more time to think about the proposal and Wells stated he was worried about the strong divide among his colleagues.

“I think it's a mistake to put out a program as a divided council,” says Wells.

While some believe the current project list is too lengthy, all of the councilmembers agree public safety, education, as well as road and water line maintenance projects are of concern.

"We’re talking like $100 million dollars and my feeling is we need all of this … but I don't think we've spent enough time to put this together to think it through,” says Rosemary Bellino-Hall, Ward 3.

Mayor Fred Fitch showed some frustration with the council and was adamant about doing whatever it takes to come up with a proposal all eight councilmembers will approve.

“You have something very good, which we do here, and then this happens tonight, so I will tell you this, we will meet until we have something ironed out,”

Fitch scheduled a special meeting at City Hall for Friday, May 30 at 10 a.m.

It’s possible the council could vote to approve a final proposal at that meeting. Either way, however, time is running out, because the city council must reach an agreement no later than June 11 if they want to put this issue before city voters in an August election.

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