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Voters say ‘NO’ to road bond issue

Piedmont voters Tuesday, by a three-to-one margin, turned down a $6 million bond issue proposal to repair several major Piedmont streets.

Unofficial election results from the Canadian County Election Board show voters turned down the issue by a margin of 71.2 percent to 28.8 percent. The actual vote was 646 against the proposal to 261 in favor. Voters in all three precincts turned down the bonds by similar margins.

The proposal would have reworked stretches of at least seven Piedmont roads.

Watch for updated information and comments from city officials.

29 Comments

  1. Ed Cook says:

    We need roads badly….but not at the cost of a 25% increase in property taxes…a soon to be retired senior citizen or one already retired can’t afford that. Let’s elect a pro business city council that won’t stifle ever thing that comes along. More business…more tax revenue…idiots like 2 or 3 of our council members can’t seem to understand that concept. …..so they will probably blame Phil Boevers just like they try to blame everything else on him.

    • Charles coffman says:

      Ed, it was 13%. No business groups have indicated they were interested since the last election. We would welcome them with open arms. We finalized the Williams deal, completed the 2030 plan, have been updating codes, and have the budget in order. The city charter group is working to finish their important work. These things all are geared toward showing we can work with business when the time comes. I do believe you hit it right on the lack of support for any tax increase. I was weighing it against what my property value would be with a good roads in town. I know not all folks can think that way in this economy, they have to live in the here and now. Regarding blame, can we all agree that there should be a pox on the houses that keep the feuds going. It is time to find ways to fix this mess.

      • Richard Jones says:

        Nicely Done, Councilman Coffman. – and with all due respect to Mr. Cook, who raises some legitimate concerns, lately, it seems that yours is the Voice of Reason. Though I have not been keeping up with local politics and personalities until relatively recently (and frankly, I still haven’t figured out who gets along with whom – nor do I really care), personally, I believe you appear to be headed in the proper direction. Your apparent Even Temperament is greatly appreciated. Constituents consider Predictability to be an Asset when it comes to elected officials.

  2. Brian Vermillion says:

    Good! Those nimrods have been squandering money that should have gone to repair those pathetic streets for years.

    • Charles Coffman says:

      Brian, I am sorry you are still angry about the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s. I am in 2013 with a new city manager, new planning director, new police chief, a new engineering firm, and a new council that was told to fix the roads. We worked since last May to decide what feeder roads were in need, follow the law to get bond agents, bond attorneys, and build a maintenance plan. Along with the bond was a plan for seven miles of gravel, 3 dedicated city employees to work on roads full time, a grader, and plans to get a dump truck and roller next years. We also hired someone to go find us some grant money. We rebuilt our relationship with OKC and the county. But we made some silly mis steps in not standing on the rooftops to disavow any suggestion that windmills might be allowed, we sadly gave the impression that some on the council did not want to help the veterans. We let others define the issue and did not show that the city gets zero propert taxes, that once we get over 5,000 people the county will not help, and that the bond money is handled through a third party. We still have people thinking that the city was going to keep 30% of the money. I am taxed nearly $2,000 per year that goes mostly to schools. We also chose three roads close to the schools and one other bus route. We got no support from the schools. We will not stop trying to find ways to fix the roads but it is going to be tough. We just rejected having OKC pay for half of two roads, missed the best interest rates in over 50 years, and made it tough for any bond agent to ever work with us.

  3. Brian Vermillion says:

    That’s my point exactly. Piedmont is no further ahead on repairing the roads than they were 12 years ago. All of the new bureaucrats that you so proudly boast of have apparently had no effect on the level of trust that the citizens have in their leadership of which you are a member. Nice work.

    • Charles Coffman says:

      Can’t argue about the trust, pretty deep seated issues around here. The budget report we just got was for the year that ended last June. It had leftover costs from the police station and water costs from the drought. The election was two months prior to that June date. Can you see why few want to run for office, you get lumped in with the state and Feds that people are mad at. I will say we under estimated the ill will and lack of trust. We also only had enough ad money for the bond to run ads the last week. I can’t blame the citizens, we needed to get more info out and/or go with a smaller bond. We both work for, and are citizens. I do hope you will read up a bit as well. Get a copy of the budget, see what has been done since June, and give solutions and not just gripes. Stay involved but be part of the answers because we do need to fix the roads.

  4. ant says:

    the papers are reporting the loss is due to misinformation, uneducated (on the issue) voters, recent controversy and everything else. this bond failed because the city council took it for granted everybody thinks they are doing a great job. they do not listen to the only good city manager we have had for years. (look back at his original request for this bond). woods basically sank it with adding a road thst ends at his house. woods challenged all voters voting no as being shamefull. the veterens ask for waived fees and the motion cannot get a second but we are asked to pay 13% more taxes for woods private road. the council needs to listen to the piedmont business community and run this city like the business it is. since this council has been in place city revenues are down. we have a lobbyist that works for us and the wind company at the same time, huge conflict of interest and no action to correct. bring a bond that pays off in 2 to 3 years and then show what you can do, at that point it could be renewed and have a perpetual street program for the future.this bond put streets in now but had the payout reacing so far out the good done now would have been forgotten in 10 years when more was wanted. blame the no votes but look in the mirror for the bad leadership

  5. JT says:

    Ant for the most part I’ve always agreed with what you’ve posted before, but I think you’re wrong about one thing. The city manager is moving forward with buying the equipment the city manager originally requested in the bond issue. They have already purchased a grader and they will be purchasing a dump truck in a few months. He also has plans on buying a roller and building a building to store them in. So the equipment purchases are going to happen anyways.

    Just remember that it was Mr. Coffman who made the motion for the waived fees but no one would second it. You are correct about Woods and the lobbyist.

    The idea of a short bond is good, but the goal of this bond was to lock in a low interest rate on the muni bonds of hopefully less than 2% to finance a decently sized amount of streets (for Piedmont anyways). Who knows what interest rates will be 3 years from now? They have been ridiculously low for some time now, it’s hard to imagine them staying that way. Oh yeah we also got a new city councilman yesterday by default as he ran unopposed. Not many people want to be leaders in this town.

    • ant says:

      JT,
      you miss the point, Mr Crosby wanted 4.5m to start the street work proper and not reach so deep in our pockets. the council shot for 6m and no support. Crosby crafted a street dept as a last ditch effort to try and salvage the deal. as woods stated he crafted this bond and was 100% for it. its failure rests square on his ego. the short bond as you refer to is what the community MIGHT support as that is probably what they can afford. we need to use all forms of road construction so the dollar goes further. not just 5 1/4″ asphalt as a minimum (would be nice but not affordable for every street). As far as rates go nobody can predict the future and we should do what we can afford and then later do the same whatever the rates are then.

      • JT says:

        I never heard Mr. Crosby say the street department was contingent on the bond passing. The way he talked it is going to happen no matter what. The original $4.5 proposal as put forth by Mr. Crosby had $90k for a fire truck $210k for sirens, $420k for construction equipment and $800k(!) for a building to house them in. You think that would have stood any better chances of passing?

        I can’t speak for the roads up north, but 164th street, Sara Road and Mustang Road, these are heavily traveled streets. If you want to put a chip and seal road down it’s only going to last maybe 5 years before it gets rough and starts developing pot holes and other problems. Then you’re back to the same old problem. Chip and seal the neighborhood streets if you want, but use asphalt on the heavily traveled section line roads if you want them to last. Chip and seal isn’t structural! It just seals the dirt road from water infiltration. It’s just an oil sealed dirt road meant for light traffic.

        A traffic study needs to be done to determine which streets recieve the most traffic and therefore the reconstruction.

        • ant says:

          i was just stating at 4.5 there was a plan to address maintenance and get some roads. the council (mainly woods) took it to another level by increasing it by a third. still a tough sell but more comprehensive than just roads that serve some of the patrons. with mr crosby’s plan all residents would benifet to some degree and we would have a basis to expand from later. The main issue that defeated this bond in my opinion was woods attitude towards anybody that questioned HIS plan and the fact HE included a street to his house. time and time again woods is abusive to anybody including the other council members who do not agree with him. watch the comments on these blogs when people question him about anything. he will go hard on attack even when he is totaly wrong. the council is a tough no win job but it can be handled with class and understanding (just watch mr coffman in action).

          • JT says:

            It looks like we will still get part of Mr. Crosby’s plan for road maintenance. I just hope the city can follow through on the training for running the equipment. They’ve got to have trained employees. It is important to remember that most city street crews can’t and usually don’t rebuild a whole street from scratch.

            I agree with you about Woods 110%. I’ve seen his comments on both of the newspaper websites and have been the subject of some of them. If you disagree with him he goes on the attack. Mr. Coffman handles his job properly. I’m glad he represents my ward.

          • Vernon Woods says:

            Ah yes, then we have ant – Piedmont’s own little version of Chris Matthews. I always think of Fred Sanford’s front yard whenever I drive by his house.

          • JT says:

            There you go again Vernon…

          • ant says:

            as always vernon cannot respond with anything but school boy taunting. although i do not agree with the recall process we currently have if they are able to get him out the IQ of the council will dramatically increase. for a city official to respond to his critics the way he does is enough reason to recall him. not an ounce of class

  6. Charles Coffman says:

    This is a good place for the citizens to post what they think. I really shouldn’t to make it a city defense site. We took a beating on the measure and there were some real unwise moves taken leading up to this. We were going to do all 10 projects even though one councilman kept saying “if” we had funds. 3 of the roads were around the schools, 3 more were either bus routes or feeders that contained ambulance or snow routes. Sara from Edmond to Arrowhead feeds both circle V additions. OKC would have split the cost on two of those mentioned above. We went with the bond now because of interest rates but based on citizen comments we did put out the maintenance plan out there. I do not blame the citizens, we work for them and did not get out some information they needed. We also did not adjust. We all need to cut out the old fights and feuds or we will not improve. I will watch the posts and listen. Best regards

    • Cindy says:

      Chas, you don’t need to waste your breath on
      Brian Vermillion. He lives out of state at a job that (according to their website) pays him a whopping $9.77 hr. Until he moves back to Piedmont or opens a business here, it is of no monetary concern to him. County records indicate he has no property in Canadian County, Ok.

      Answering him serves no purpose. Your duties are to those homeowners and businessmen that are vital to the area.

      • Brian Vermillion says:

        Sorry Cindy Cheatwood that you are so desperate, lonely or both that you have the time to attempt to stalk me. Also sorry to burst your bubble as to my employment. I have a nice union job in the transportation industry that pays quite well and has benefits that are unmatched anywhere. Update your dossier on me and enjoy. How pathetic your life has become.

  7. john says:

    The last time the small group that represents themselves as the business community is the one that ran this town for many years as these roads got worse as they did nothing and they ran our town in the ditch. The present council must do a better job of taking this defeat to heart and put the citizens and the taxpayers who are footing the bill first and get a road maintenance department up and running and start tackling attainable road problems first immediatly. Once they prove to the citizens that we have a fully functional street department then maybe they can come back with a leaner bond request which makes sense and can be approved by a majority of the voters.

  8. mildly interested says:

    The new members of the council in most recent elections have been doing a very good job. We have had a lot of nasty election stuff over the years. The current council has been much more open, honest, transparent and hardworking than our councils of the past. Things in Piedmont are getting done and the community is more engaged. We may not always like everything but at least we know about it. Would have been nice to have more time to work on or think about the bond issue but we didn’t. Might be helpful to understand how things got the way they were on the roads and make an effort to correct the mistakes of the past. I think our current council is the best we have had here in more than 20 years.

  9. Charles Coffman says:

    To Felisha. We will be doing 7 miles of gravel and have a grader now. Even with the bond failure we will still have three folks that will just do road work. It was part of the plan. I hope your road is one we will laying the gravel on and work the ditches. Two of the employees are going to grader school to learn to grade the right way. Regarding taxes…. I pay a ton also but non of it is for the city unless I shop in town. Our city tax is not the highest in the region, not even close. We get nothing from property taxes. These are just things that started to be made clear to us on the council. We did not get the plan out very well but there was one. Best regards

    • ant says:

      who is higher and by how much??

      • Knows Better says:

        5% (City tax only, 9.885% overall) is plenty high and it is amongst the highest in the state. Many of us gray-haired folk can remember when cities survived on TWO cents on the dollar.

        Look at some of the only communities with higher sales tax rates: Beggs, Billings, Bristow, Burns Flat, Comargo, Canadian, Canute, Carnegie, Checotah, Clayton, Cleveland, Davidson, Dibble, Drumright, Eufaula, Fort Cobb, Fort Towson, Foyil, Gracemont, Hallett, Hanna, Hugo, Hydro, Morrison, Oilton, Picher, Red Rock, Rentiesville, Savannah, Seiling, Tipton, Tushka, and Watonga.

        Have you been to these towns? Do they look like they’re prospering? Not at all. Most of these are speed traps that are suffering a long, slow deaths and are trying to stay afloat by squeezing every penny from any out-of-towner who stops at the gas station long enough for a Coke.

        Is this where we’re headed?

      • Charles Coffman says:

        Ant is correct…I was looking at mileage rates.. City is higher
        Total city, county, state sales tax…
        OKC 8.375
        Edmond 8.25
        Yukon 8.85
        Piedmont 9.85

        Property tax (millage rate) we are lower for region
        OKC Deer Creek 133.82
        OKC/Edmond 117.84
        OKC NW 129.35
        Yukon 110.14
        Piedmont 105.42

        We would have added 10.97 in first year, dropping down to 5.03…. Averaged to 7.70

  10. Knows Better says:

    …Getting tired of hearing “the citizens were misinformed”. We ARE well informed. These comments hint that City Council is all-knowing and it is not.

    • Charles Coffman says:

      Just meant that some thought the city got some of the property taxes and were just wasting it. We get none. Some thought the county just was not fixing the roads… They do not help when a city gets over 5,000. Some did not like the roads picked, some thought the taxes were going up 30%. If you knew the facts about those things and just did want to pay any taxes for the road that is just fine. We work for you. The city folks are the same as you, they live here and ran for office. We get $35 a month, nothing else. No one is mad or thinks you are not able to decide for yourself. Being here for a year I do see a lot of folks that think we are the same as the career folks in DC. As long as we all have the facts when we decide it is all good.

  11. Charles Coffman says:

    Everyone should always check the figures, sorry Ant.. That is why we hire bond agents and accountants.

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