Lawton city budget passed, twice-a-week trash pick up intact

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - After two and a half hours at Thursday night's public hearing, Lawton City Council approved next year's budget. But it's not the one council passed on a preliminary basis last week. At the start of the meeting, City Manager Jerry Ihler presented a 3rd revised budget proposal, and it included twice a week trash pick up. Previously it was to be cut to once a week. But a one-dollar monthly fee was added to maintain the twice-a-week service.

The third revision still includes the 2.7 percent utility rate increase.

Many residents, like David Carter, came to speak on the topic of trash pick up.

"My prediction is that they will see commercial dumpsters full, creek beds full and as I said there is a love seat that's been sitting on the curb two weeks just down from my house," Carter said. "Why they haven't called on it or why it hasn't been picked up I don't know."

Also a topic of the discussion, originally the revised budget included selling two Lawton Fire Department ambulances. A few people came to speak in favor of keeping the ambulances. Lawton Fire Chief Dewayne Burk came up to speak in favor as well. He was saying his department was working toward having the ambulances serving their firefighters, and down the line serve the community in the event that no ambulances were available to take an emergency call. In the end, the city voted to keep the ambulances. The city used the $95,000 carryover to cover the $41,000 selling the ambulances would add to the budget.

The city is also keeping the full Mobile Meals Contract, the Center for Creative Living Contract, mosquito fogging, $25,000 for library books to keep the library state funding, the west side branch library, and youth sports playoffs.

Councilmember Bob Morford made a motion to pass the 3rd revised budget, but keep the ambulances. After that Councilmember Dwight Tanner made a substitute motion to continue reviewing the budget line-by-line like they were doing last week before Councilmember Jay Burk's motion to move on to public hearings. That vote ended up in a tie, with Mayor Fred Fitch breaking the tie voting no. Morford, Keith Jackson, Jay Burk, and Sean Fortenbaugh also voted no.

Then the council voted on Morford's motion and it passed after Fitch's tie breaking yes vote. Councilman Caleb Davis, Dwight Tanner, Onreka Johnson and Randy Warren all voted no.

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