• Mcalester News-Capital: OPINION: OUR VIEW: Let voters decide on water funding

• Mcalester News-Capital, McAlester News-Capital, Okla.
·2 min read

Apr. 29—McAlester city councilors should let voters decide on a $32.5 million bond for water infrastructure.

An item on Tuesday's meeting agenda called for discussion and possible action to call a special election to allow the McAlester Public Works Authority to go into debt to address the city's water infrastructure needs.

Councilors pulled the item after the city's financial advisor was unable to attend the meeting — so the item moved to the May 11 meeting.

When it comes up again, council members will consider a resolution calling for a special election on July 13 for McAlester voters to decide if they want to allow the MPWA to go into debt for $32.5 million to address water infrastructure issues.

We believe the council should send it to a vote of the people.

City councilors will hear options and financial breakdowns from various entities when the item comes up again.

Municipal Finance Services in Edmond has handled some of the city of McAlester's previous financing projects. The Public Finance Law Group in Oklahoma City and McAlester-based Erwin & Erwin law firm has also, been involved.

But regardless of any options presented to councilors about how to fund the project — the council should let the voters decide.

McAlester's City Charter requires a vote of qualified registered voters in city limits to approve any expenditures by a municipal beneficiary trust costing more than $1 million.

We applaud city officials for repairing two 1 million-gallon clearwells at the McAlester Water Treatment Plant, and the momentous task of repairing and replacing water lines throughout the city after the historic winter weather in February.

Now the city needs some help to further address crumbling infrastructure.

And councilors should let voters decide if they want to help.

McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board