Funding requests to help with sports and military defense contractor projects will top the agenda when the City Council meets today.
Council members also will hold a public hearing to solicit comments from residents about projects that could be supported by what is expected to be $5.473 million more in revenues in the 2019 Capital Improvements Program (CIP).
Public comment is required under the resolution that created the CIP. Specifically, the provision requires the council to hold “no less than two” meetings on usage and allocations of surplus funds generated by sales tax revenue. City staff had estimated $23.5 million in revenue, but the latest financial estimate is that tax will bring in $28.98 million.
That same resolution also sets specific funding categories for the revenues generated by that tax, ranging from public safety and infrastructure updates, to beautification projects and those that benefit youth. City staff already has recommended that the council allocate more funds to the city hall renovation project, work to convert one vacant floor in the south wing and two in the north wing to use as city offices. The 2019 CIP now allocates $6 million to that project, but latest estimates on work — conversion of vacant floors and work in areas already in use — are $7.5 million, as project manager CMS Willowbrook Inc. analyzes bids from subcontractors.
In a separate agenda item, CMS Willowbrook is asking the council whether to decide to accept the lone bid submitted for installation of the building’s HVAC system (the unit itself is slated for delivery in June) and set a $7,523,677 contract, or omit that project and rebid it (dropping the immediate contract to $6,065,479). In addition, the firm has recommended saving $257,000 by omitting a payment kiosk ($56,440) and a one-year maintenance bond ($200,562).
In other business, the council will consider funding requests from two of its trust authorities. The FISTA Development Trust Authority is asking to amend its budget for the 2023-2024 year by adding $2.25 million for construction-related work at the FISTA Innovation Park. The Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority wants $100,000 to upgrade seven athletic fields in city parks.
FISTA Development Trust Authority members said the funding will continue renovations of FISTA 1 to make additional upgrades needed by military defense contractors. The largest portion — $944,000 — will help build new space to accommodate tenant Dynetics’ CEMA project ($920,000), with another $24,000 for architectural fees. Another $55,300 is allocated for digital and electrical upgrades in FISTA 1, while $209,000 will cover an income shortfall, meaning less coming in that predicted. Additional work includes furniture ($24,700) and roof repairs ($17,000). In addition, the request includes $1 million of advanced funding, which will be reimbursed by the $1 million Department of Housing and Urban Development grant awarded to FISTA.
Funding would come from the 2019 CIP.
The City At Large Contingency Fund is the proposed source for the $100,000 the Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority needs to renovate seven athletic fields.
Eastern Sports Management, the trust authority’s manager, has outlined a series of repairs on two fields at Eastside Park, three at McMahon Park and four at Ahlschlager Park, upgrades officials say are necessary to get the fields “game ready.” Every upgrade includes applying between 40 and 70 tons of infield mix to the fields, then restoring the fields to play condition. Trust authority members have said the amount of work needed on the fields is beyond the ability of a general landscaper to handle, meaning a professional will be brought in to do that work.
Council members also will consider an amendment to city code presented by Interim City Manager John Ratliff, making it unlawful to “willfully disturb, interfere with or disrupt the business of any political subdivision,” to include publicly posted meetings, or anyone representing those subdivisions.” It also would be unlawful to refuse to disburse or leave any property, building or structure owned or leased by any political subdivision or its employees, after a peace officer has made proper notice. City officials said such actions already are illegal under state law.
“Disturb, interfere or disrupt” is defined as conduct that is violent, threatening, abusive, obscene or jeopardizes the safety of that person or others.