Pop Goes Personal
Oklahoma Pop Culture Museum director, Jeff Moore, last week announced the museum is going forward with project plans.
A permanent exhibit has been secured through the donations of the Bob Wills Heritage Foundation, Moore said.
The exhibit includes Wills' personal artifacts like his wallet and driver's license, as well as live and glass disc recordings. The collection is currently undergoing conservation efforts but will find a home within the upcoming museum.
Moore said securing the Wills collection was a vital step in ensuring that plans to build the Pop Culture Museum come together.
Spending City's Leftovers
After more than a year of having to make tough budget decisions, the mayor and City Council now find themselves in the enviable position of having an anticipated $10.3 million in leftover funds to allocate at the end of this fiscal year on June 30. But what to do with the money?
One possibility that has been floated is to make a deposit in the city's newly created rainy day fund -- officially known as the Economic Stabilization Reserve Fund -- that was approved by voters last fall. And yet even the city councilor who led the campaign in favor of the creation of the fund acknowledges the timing probably is not right for such a move.
District 9's G.T. Bynum said the city has other needs that rank higher on the priority list right now, including the purchase of an automated time and attendance system for city employees at a cost of $1.5 million.
"The time and attendance system is something we've been talking about since I've been on the council," he said. "It's something that would have paid for itself by now."
Bynum also said the city faces a two-year backlog on funding its employee pension system, something it badly needs to address.
"Cities and states across the country have gotten into trouble letting that drag out," he said.
City officials also are expected to need to allocate more money for the pothole repair program in the wake of a series of severe winter storms that have wreaked havoc on many of the city's streets.
Bynum said no one is more eager than him to see the rainy day fund blossom. Because of the provisions set forth in the measure voters approved, it was expected it would be years -- and at least one good economic boom cycle -- before the city was in a position to make its first deposit to the fund, so this opportunity was unexpected.
Still, the District 9 councilor believes the city would be better served by using the money for something else.
"The purpose of (the rainy day fund) was not to go into debt to fund it," he said. "If we've got debts we need to pay, we need to pay those first."
Bynum said he appreciated the approach the mayor's office has taken to working with the council on the question of how to spend the money.
"This is one of the first times I can think of that the Bartlett administration has been collaborative with the council on budget issues," he said.
No decision on how the money is spent is expected to be made for three months, Bynum said.
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