Members of the City Council will meet in special session today to interview candidates for the vacant Ward 6 seat, then consider a list of agenda items ranging from a discussion about the Lawton City Hall renovation project to a review of next year’s proposed city budget.
The session will open at noon with a brief meeting of the Lawton Water Authority, whose members are being asked to extend the sailboat and landing operations contract with Sunken Bridge Yacht Club. The existing lease expired May 1 and city staff is recommending the council extend the contract another 12 months under the same conditions. City officials are still exploring their options for the uses now contracted in Lake Lawtonka’s School House Slough area, which has come back under city operations after the concession’s long-time operator ended his contract Dec. 31.
Immediately after moving into the City Council portion of the meeting, members will convene in executive session to discuss five candidates who have filed applications to fill the unexpired term of former Ward 6 Councilman Sean Fortenbaugh. Council members said last week they expect to interview candidates today.
Under the city charter, the full council has the authority to appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of a council member who leaves, as Fortenbaugh did in March. That appointed candidate will serve as the Ward 6 representative until voters themselves select someone in September to fill Fortenbaugh’s term. Because the current terms of the Wards 6, 7 and 8 council members will expire in January, Ward 6 residents will vote on two ballots in September: one for the unexpired term that ends Jan. 8; the second for the new three-year term that begins Jan. 8.
Council members also will look at an item postponed from last week’s regular agenda, reacting to a request from Lawton City Hall project manager CMS Willowbrook about how to proceed with renovation plans.
The firm is asking the council to decide whether to accept the lone bid submitted for installation of the building’s HVAC system (the unit itself is slated for delivery in June, after being ordered last fall) and establish a $7,523,677 total contract price, or omit that work and rebid it (dropping the contract price to $6,065,479). CMS Willowbrook also has recommended additional savings for the project that was funded at $6 million in the 2019 Capital Improvements Program: omitting a payment kiosk ($56,440) and a one-year maintenance bond ($200,562).
Completing those renovations is expected to bring city hall into full use by converting former class space on the top floor of the south wing and second and third floor of the north wing into office space. The work also will include upgrades to floors already in use.
The council will continue its analysis of the 2023-2024 preliminary budget that is being drafted by city staff, with today’s discussion focused on personnel. City administrators have set a series of workshops centered on the budget, as council members work toward approving the document that will guide expenditures for the fiscal year that begins July 1.