View Full Version : Take a good look at me now...

06-07-2007, 01:02 PM
'Cause l'll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
That's the chance I've qot to take

**In my best Phil Collin's voice**

Left in just the interesting stuff

Retail sales, population growth push Moore's budget to new record levels

The Norman Transcript

By M. Scott Carter

American Staff Writer

While it drew little debate and sailed through last week's city council meeting, Moore's new $55 million-plus municipal budget, is, in reality, a milestone for the community and proof of the council's ability to work together.

"All that retail development," Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis said, "we've been concentrating on that for the past 13 years. We've done it by bringing people together."

The project has been successful.

Moore's FY 2008 budget -- which totals $55,568,660 -- is the largest budget document ever passed by the city council and includes more than $12 million from a recently passed sales tax which is earmarked for public safety improvements.

"Oh yeah, it's by far and away the biggest (budget) we've ever passed," Lewis said. "Our budget has pretty much tripled. It's allowed us to continue to grow and to provide extra services."

The new budget, Lewis said, will help city leaders "stay focused on the quality-of-life issues and safety issues."

But times haven't always been so good.

Just a decade ago, Moore's budget "was around $20 million" and city leaders struggled to make ends meet.

"When I first started as mayor, our budget was around 20 million," Lewis said. "That first week I was mayor we had to borrow money just to make payroll. That's when I realized we needed to do economic development."

Those efforts focused on exploiting Moore's location along the I-35 corridor, bringing in more residents to the community and expanding the retail trade.

"In the last few years, Moore has done a total turnaround in the ability of the community," said Cheryl Dorrance, director of research for the Oklahoma Municipal League. "The leadership of the community is pulling in the same direction. There have been some times in the past where they didn't have as much teamwork."

By working together, Dorrance said, Moore city council has been able to "aggressively pursue economic development."

"Oklahoma communities are extremely dependent on sales tax," she said. "And because the retail has developed so much in Moore they've really prospered; it's retail and it's residential growth."

Growth which has allowed the city to hire staff members, plan programs and develop services that weren't imagined a decade ago -- including new facilities for youth football and soccer programs and even a Little League baseball stadium designed to draw national baseball tournaments to the area.

"It (the baseball stadium) wouldn't be as big as Bricktown, but it would be similar," Lewis said. "Right now it's three to five years off."

Further, a new, temporary sales tax will fund more than $12 million in police and fire department improvements, including several new fire stations, a new police facility and a mobile emergency operations unit.

"We want to be prepared, we want to have money set aside, if, God forbid, we have another disaster such as a tornado," Lewis said.

Still, public safety isn't the only focus.

Street improvements, water and wastewater services are also major components of next year's budget. "There's never enough money for streets," Lewis said. "It's just amazing with how much money takes to keep up."

Keeping the streets repaired and able to handle the city's growing retail traffic is "an absolute" necessity.

"We're trying to consider the needs of retailers as do street improvements," he said. "But maintenance is expensive. When you put in a new stop light, you're talking something like $370,000. You have to grow your budget to provide the infrastructure for those new businesses."

It's that attitude, Dorrance said, which has helped Moore prosper.

"The leadership (in Moore) has really been critical," she said. "The community has sense of purpose and direction. It has really been thoughtful and planned for the growth --

06-07-2007, 08:59 PM
thats a great article. thanks for posting. moore is awesome!

06-07-2007, 09:16 PM
I second that. Once their is a change in the mindset of the leaders and desire to make things happen, then the community will support as we see the good things they are trying to do. Good article Scott