by Lori Harless and Rebecca Greenhaw
Oklahoma City residents will have the opportunity to vote in an upcoming special election with two ballot items, one that would amend the Oklahoma City Charter and another that would change the ONG franchise agreement. The election is set for Tuesday, July 9.
The proposed Charter amendment on employment restrictions would allow more state and federal government employees to serve on the City Council. The amendment would keep restrictions for elected officials and senior government officers like state legislators and school superintendents, who can’t serve on the Council. But it would allow other state and federal government employees, like teachers and engineers, to be Council members.
If the Charter amendment passes, the governor of Oklahoma must also review and sign it for it to formally become law. The amendment would take effect starting with the next election for each Council seat, not during the current term.
ONG franchise agreement
The proposed change to the ONG franchise agreement clarifies the definition of gross cash receipts, which determine the franchise fees ONG pays to the City. After negotiations, the City and ONG agreed the definition should include certain receipts the City had contended should already be included.
If the change is approved, ONG’s residential and commercial natural gas customers in Oklahoma City could see an increase in their gas bill of about 0.1 percent (10 cents on a $100 gas bill). ONG would pay the City about $225,000 in additional annual franchise fees, an increase of about 4 percent. Franchise fees go into the City’s General Fund, which pays for day-to-day operations like police officer and firefighter salaries.
Regular voting for the OKC election is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 9 at your usual polling location. Here are some links to various online articles on the two proposals:
- Oklahoma City voters to consider amendment to city charter, ONG agreement: Oklahoma News 4
- Register by June 14 to vote in July 9 special election for amendments to OKC Charter, ONG franchise agreement: The City of Oklahoma City Website
- UPCOMING SPECIAL ELECTION SET FOR AMENDMENTS TO OKC CHARTER, ONG FRANCHISE AGREEMENT; Velocity