Piedmont will have strong representation at the first annual Oklahoma Congress of Mayors next month as mayor Mike Fina has been elected to serve as Speaker of the House for the inaugural Congress.
“Oklahoma’s cities and towns are asked to provide more services to citizens than ever before, yet our funding sources are shrinking and we operate in an antiquated tax structure,” Fina said. “The Congress of Mayors will allow us to debate these issues in a public forum and help develop solutions that the state legislature can use in future legislation.”
The event is open to all mayors and vice mayors from across the state and is free to attend. Sand Springs Vice Mayor and MCO President Mike Burdge will serve as Speaker Pro Tempore for the Congress and said the event is designed to promote maximum participation.
“The Mayor’s Council decided to make the event only one day and with no charge so all mayors could participate,” Burdge said. “By the time a city official pays for registration a hotel and travel expenses, the costs can add up fast.” Numerous sponsors have donated funds to operate the congress. “We are fortunate to have many organizations who believe in this concept and willing to help fund it.”
The Congress will feature a State of the Cities Address, committee meetings, and a legislative session in the House of Representatives Chamber.
“We pattered the session to operate as similarly to the State Legislature as you can get in one day,” Fina said. “We did this to help educate mayors on how the process works so they can become better advocates for their municipalities.”
Fina also said it is his hope that by participating in the Congress it will inspire more mayors to make the leap to the state legislature.