The Grove City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution to formally request contact with the Delaware County Public Facilities Authority and begin a dialogue to facilitate an “appropriate solution” for building a new jail at a regular meeting Tuesday night.
Council members noted that the suggestion of a .4 percent sales tax which is now on the table did not appear to be any better than the .5 percent sales tax which was quashed by voters in last month's election.
“They are disregarding the voters, and it's a credibility issue,” said Mayor Gary Bishop. “If they needed five tenths, why is four tenth acceptable now?”
The proposed sales tax was defeated with 2,214 votes against it and 1,648 votes in favor.
“We will continue to register our objections to the current course they are taking,” said Mayor Gary Bishop. “But we are not saying 'no' to a new jail. We're saying please come meet with us and we'll talk this thing out and try to find some common ground.”
City Manager Bruce Johnson said that about 92 percent of the voters in Grove were against the jail tax.
The council concurred that the commissioners don't appear to be listening to the voters.
Council member Larry Parham said, “They seem to feel that the north part of the county is different than the south, but we have 30 percent of the voters in Grove and they are acting like we don't exist. We all live in the county.”
Parham said no there had been no discussion at the Public Facilities Authority's meeting of second or third options. He said he feels the authority needs to look at all the possible solutions.
“The cost of everything is going up and they are wasting time and money if they don't do something,” Parham said.
Council member Terry Ryan spoke out strongly against the .4 percent sales tax increase.
“It (the increase) was unacceptable the first time around and it is unacceptable now,” Ryan said. “It shows a total disregard for trying to understand the alternatives and give the voters what they want.”
In other business, the council approved a motion to authorize a grant application submittal to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in the amount of $403,197.00 for the Downtown Streetscape Project, otherwise known as Downtown Revitalization, Phase II.
The project would continue the work begun on Third Street in Phase I past Main.
Dr. Larry Stout, who is spearheading the project, said a nice downtown is very important to Grove's economy since over five million cars pass through the city every year.
The council also approved an ordinance which will allow power shut-off switches at each meter so that power to homes may be shut off at the pole by the fire department in case of emergency; approved the closing of Third Street to Fourth and portions of Grand and Broadway for the Chamber's Harvest Moon Cruise Night on Saturday, October 11; approved a request by the Grand Lake Association to close Grand Street between Third and Fourth for the carnival event in conjunction with the Pelican Festival scheduled for September 30 through October 5, and approved a contract lease agreement with the Docs Service.