By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The Newkirk city commission gathered in the meeting room at Newkirk Public Library Monday evening, March 14, discussing public meetings for a proposed 1-cent sales tax and new fire protection ordinances.
The commission recently passed a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase, which is planned to supplement utility taxes. City Manager Ryan Smykil proposed several meeting dates for public information and input. Those dates are March 14 and 28 in the NPL’s meeting room.
“There are a range of projects it potentially funds,” Smykil said.
Projects include ongoing upgrades to the water and sewer systems, substation upgrades and a building maintenance fund for when the Public Safety Center opens.
Tax dollars will be set aside to upgrade the city’s vehicle fleet.
“We have several vehicles that are getting old. We need to get the departments new vehicles so they can do their business around town,” he said.
An upgrade of City Hall is also planned.
“We’d like to do renovation of City Hall, dress up the walls and carpet,” he said. “We’d like to be able to use the Seventh Street entrance instead of the side door.”
The ballot will also include candidates for Newkirk Public Schools Board of Education, as well as Newkirk City Commission. The election is April 5, and if the tax increase passes, it will remain indefinite, Smykil said.
The Commissioners also passed two new ordinances, 2022-4 F-7 and 2022-5 F-8, which amends Newkirk’s Penal Chapter “F” Fire and Ambulance, which gives the Newkirk Fire Department more leeway in fighting open burning and emergency declarations.
The ordinances mirror those of surrounding communities, including Ponca City, Blackwell and Tonkawa.
“They are going to have better control of when open burning is allowed, and when it cannot,” he said. “If someone is burning without a permit or during a ban, they would have the authority to put the fire out.”