This Tuesday, Norman voters again have a chance to decide on several significant issues at the ballot box.
We aren’t endorsing a candidate in the Ward 3 runoff or in the Office No. 1 Board of Education race. But we are encouraging you to vote “yes" on a citywide issue that all voters get a say in: Tuesday’s Street Maintenance Bond Program.
We think the proposal — a $27 million bond program that would continue more than 15 years of road maintenance and rehab by attending to nearly 152 miles of Norman streets — is a worthy investment for Norman voters.
For starters, this bond measure won’t raise your taxes — it’s just a continuation of an existing program, so your property taxes don’t budge because of it.
Unlike the bond issues proposed in last August’s election, this program and the money involved have a well-established purpose. The city has clearly outlined how and where these millions will be spent, to the point where you can view a map — available on the city’s site — of all the streets this project will impact and the improvements that’ll be made to each of them. The city shares that $20.8 million will go toward rehab and maintenance, $4.2 million toward reconstruction and $2 million toward preventative maintenance. We applaud and encourage that transparency.
It’s an objective program too — your city councilors or individual city leaders won’t be selecting which streets get attention during this round of maintenance. Instead, the rehabilitation, resurfacing and maintenance is directed toward streets that are ranked and picked by Norman’s Pavement Management Program, a scoring system that determines what roads need the preventative or restorative care.
This is money we’d be happy to see Norman direct toward its streets. The city has track record of success and public support with these bond projects over the last 15+ years — according to Director of Public Works Shawn O’Leary, past road maintenance bond proposals have received increasing support over the years. The first bond issue in 2005 received 53.6% voter approval, and by the 2016 election, the third bond issue in the program had nabbed 67% voter approval.
We appreciate and endorse the effort to not only make sure Norman’s roads are more usable over the next few years, but to preserve and maintain the quality of our streets for the farther-out future.
With early voting over, be sure to show up at your precinct between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 6 to vote.