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OKC Boxscore - Russell Evans

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William Crum: The week ahead, and the week in review, in Oklahoma City civic affairs.

Oklahoman Published: February 24, 2014

The week ahead, and the week in review, in Oklahoma City civic affairs.

Economic forecast is for growth, budget gap

The five-year economic forecast prepared for Oklahoma City by researchers at Oklahoma City University is for continued economic growth. But increasing expenses lead to a predicted budget gap of $28.9 million by fiscal 2019. Russell Evans of OCU’s Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute briefed the city council on the forecast at last week’s budget workshop. Of 22 “indicators” that combined give a picture of the city’s financial condition, 11 are trending positive and 11 neutral, Evans said. The executive summary of Evans’ report lists a series of challenges facing the city, including:

  • Funding for street improvements.
  • Long-term funding to ensure adequate drinking water.
  • Operating costs for MAPS 3 projects.
  • Increased police and fire costs.
  • Retiree health costs.

Fees to be set for union negotiations

The law firm that will negotiate on Oklahoma City’s behalf with police and firefighter unions this year is expected to assess fees ranging from $425 to $75 per hour, depending on the work involved. The city council is set to approve a new agreement with McAfee & Taft on Tuesday.

City set to pay outsiders’ expenses for training session

The city council will consider on Tuesday whether to pay travel expenses for County Assessor Leonard Sullivan and Nels Petersen of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors to attend the 2014 Community Progress Leadership Institute in Cambridge, Mass. The training program is sponsored by the Center for Community Progress, a national organization dedicated to removing blight due to vacant and abandoned properties. The council passed new regulations last year aimed at reducing blight caused by an estimated 12,000 vacant and abandoned buildings in Oklahoma City. The city plans to send a seven-member delegation, including two council members, to next month’s four-day Institute. Expenses for Sullivan and Petersen are not to exceed $2,000.