Edmond Exchange: City retains manager, attorney
City Manager Larry Stevens and City Attorney Steve Murdock were hired for another year after a 30-minute council executive session this week.
They each received a 2 percent raise effective Aug. 1.
Stevens, who was hired March 15, 2002, was making $162,433 a year. His annual salary will increase to $165,681.
Murdock's new salary is $142,260, up from $139,471 last fiscal year. He has been the city attorney since Sept. 6, 1986.
The city contributed 10 percent of Stevens' base salary to a deferred-compensation plan or retirement plan. Council members increased that contribution to 11 percent.
Murdock was given a discretionary one-time bonus of 1 percent of his salary, or $1,442.
Improvements on Thomas Drive, from Danforth Road to Covell Road, are being completed just in time for Edmond schools to start on Friday.
The overlay project will improve the roadway until this section is permanently widened in about five years. The cost of the overlay project is about $300,000.
Money comes from the annual street overlay program funded by a sales tax approved by voters in 2000 for capital improvements.
A citizen satisfaction survey is underway in Edmond. Last week, 3,500 homes received in the mail a survey asking for opinions about the services provided by the city of Edmond.
National Research Center Inc. is conducting the survey.
People are asked to rate services such as police and fire response, parks and recreation programming and the customer service provided by city employees.
City Manager Larry Stevens said council members and staff encourage people to complete the survey by the Sept. 22 deadline.
“The information we learn from the survey is vital to us for measuring our residents' attitudes about the services we provide,” Stevens said. “It also helps us identify trends in customer satisfaction here in Edmond, as well as in similar cities around the country.”
A report is expected to be completed by the end of October.
The survey cost $35,000.
Jug fishing approved
Council members unanimously voted this week to allow jug line fishing at Arcadia Lake on a temporary basis from November through February. Fish and Game Commission members wanted jug line fishing to help with revenues during the slower winter months.
Staff will monitor and evaluate the jug line fishing on the lake operated by the city of Edmond. It will be reviewed after February and a decision will be made whether this will become a permanent fishing method at Arcadia Lake during the winter months.
In jug line fishing, lines are suspended from floating jugs to catch fish, mostly catfish.
Sales tax collection down
Edmond's second sales tax collection check for the new fiscal year was down 9.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
“The decrease is not a surprise, because we believe the comparison check from last year was abnormally high due to a couple of factors involved at that time,” said City Manager Larry Stevens.
The August check is for collections from the last two weeks of June and the first half of July.
This month's check for Edmond's 3.75 percent sales tax was for $5,244,969.
This year's $297 million budget was calculated without any growth added.
Overall, for the first two months of this fiscal year, collections are down 4.5 percent from last year.
“We are not overly concerned about this one comparison period,” Stevens said.
It's a fact
Edmond's first public swimming pool was originally located directly behind Old North Tower on what is now the University of Central Oklahoma campus. The pool was built in 1915 by the Manual Training Class.
A fence with wire barricades surrounded the first pool, which was reportedly rich with the red mud silt of the area, according to the Edmond Historical Society and Museum.
Reader Jan Curtis asked: “I do not understand why Arcadia Lake recreational area charges admission to Edmond citizens, and others, just to drive through the area when Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser are open to the public. Perhaps, it would be more fair to charge those who are using the park facilities such as the camping sites and boat ramps, rather than the taxpayers who just want to enjoy the scenery for a few minutes. This lake should be accessible to the public without an admission fee.”
Assistant City Manager Steve Commons answered: “Arcadia Lake provides a full range of services and the only way those can be provided is through user charges. The revenue we receive pays for the operating expenses we have at the lake. Last fiscal year that was over $1.1 million, and all those funds are used only at the lake. We work hard not to spend any of our city sales tax collections on operating expenses.
“When someone enters the lake, how do we know they just want to drive around, what keeps them from stopping to fish or picnic? I don't know how we would keep track of the casual visitor and those that want to use lake services.”
Have questions about Edmond, its road construction, the hotel and conference center, traffic or capital improvements?
Email Diana Baldwin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Edmond_beat.