Bartlesville voters will decide the outcome of the City’s proposed General Obligation Bond Issue during an election set for Oct. 10, 2023. The election will determine funding for capital projects over a four-year period — without increasing taxes for Bartlesville residents.
“This funding enables us to fund the projects that citizens expect us to do,” said City Manager Mike Bailey. “It pays for street projects, public safety, park projects, improvements to our facilities and upgrades to the software and other tools we need to provide services to our residents and the people who visit our great city.”
No tax increase
Approval of the measure will not result in tax increases for residents.
“The City’s mil levy will remain at 15 as existing bonds expire, so there is no tax increase associated with the G.O. Bond proposal,” said Bailey.
Projects proposed for both the G.O. Bond Issue are grouped into four propositions:
- Public safety buildings and equipment: $2,412,000
- Municipal buildings and equipment: $696,000
- Streets and bridges: $12,278,000
- Parks and recreation: $2,214,000
If approved by voters, $12 million of the $17.6 million bond issue will be used to upgrade local streets. The proposed street improvements are located throughout each ward of the city, including portions of the following streets:
- Adams Boulevard
- Silver Lake Road
- Jefferson Road
- Swan Drive
- Park Hill streets
- Rice Creek road
- Valley and Denver
Another important project proposed for funding is the replacement of the No. 2 Fire Station, which is located at 100 Virginia Ave. The existing, two-bay station was built 49 years ago and has reached its end of life, fire officials say.
“While we’ve done a good job of maintaining the facility, the No. 2 station has plumbing, structural, and slab issues that would be extremely cost prohibitive to repair. And in the end, you would still have an old building that we have simply outgrown,” said Fire Chief David Topping.
The new station would be a three-bay facility and would be patterned after stations located on Madison Boulevard (No. 3) and Price Road (No. 4). It would be constructed in close proximity to the existing station so relocation or closure would not be necessary during construction. The older building would likely then be demolished or repurposed.
Other projects proposed include improvements to Pathfinder Parkway, installation of a shade structure at Douglass Park, located at 509 S.W. Bucy, and the addition of security lighting in City-owned parks.
“The Park Board has requested that we add lighting, where feasible, in the City’s parks,” said Community Development Director Larry Curtis. “The intent with this project is to identify areas within our parks that could use lighting to provide a more secure feeling while using the parks in low light conditions.”
“This is a continuation of rebuilding the greens at the golf course, with the first nine holes being rebuilt utilizing funds approved by voters in the 2020 G.O. Bond election,” said Assistant City Manager Tracy Roles. “This funding would complete the project, rebuilding the remaining nine holes, putting green, chipping green, and nursery green.”
The golf course is not only a great resource for local golfers, it enhances economic development in the community in several ways, according to Roles.
“The golf course brings people to Bartlesville, particularly through tournaments. A prime example of this is the annual United Way Golf Tournament, which is underway at the golf course this week,” Roles said. “United Way’s goal for this tournament is to raise $1 million. That is money that not only helps our residents who need it most, but it also puts economic development funds into our community.”
According to Visit Bartlesville, the tourism arm of the City, the economic impact of the United Way Golf Tournament alone brings more than half a million dollars into the community.
“The United Way Golf Tournament has a huge impact on the city of Bartlesville,” said Visit Bartlesville Executive Director Maria Gus. “Based on data provided by the State of Oklahoma, we know that the estimated visitor spend from day visitors and out of town guests is $239,000. That leads to a fiscal impact that includes sales and lodging tax collections over $12,000. This is a conservative estimate on spending and collections. The United Way Golf Tournament gave Bartlesville an economic impact of $551,540 in 2022, not including local spending during the event.”
To view all of the proposed projects, costs and details, see www.cityofbartlesville.org.
Note about water
Social media has been abuzz recently with users why there is no proposed bond funding for projects to mitigate the water shortage experienced recently in the area due to extreme drought conditions in the watershed areas for the City’s primary water supply sources, Hulah and Copan lakes.
“In short, there are two reasons there are no water projects in this bond proposal,” said Bailey. “One is that we have not identified which resources for additional potable water are most appropriate for us. And two, and perhaps more importantly, it is likely that we will utilize low interest loans for those projects after they are vetted and approved by the City Council, as these loans are a far more appropriate and effective means for funding these types of projects.”
The City Council recently reestablished the Water Resources Committee, which is meeting regularly to evaluate the City’s options for obtaining additional water sources for the future. The committee is expected to make recommendations to the council at a later date.
When to vote
Early voting is available at the Washington County Election Board. The Election Board is located on the fourth floor of City Hall, which is located at 401 S. Johnstone Ave. Here is the early voting schedule:
- Thursday, Oct. 5, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 6, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Regular voting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10 – from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – at your local polling place. Absentee voting is available. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Monday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots must be received by mail at the county election board on or before 7 p.m. on election day (Tuesday, Oct. 10).
For detailed information about the election and the projects, see www.cityofbartlesville.org.