OKC City Council Talks Homelessness, Sales Tax & Tables Constitution Pledge

Tuesday, September 28th 2021, 5:08 pm
By: Karl Torp


It's one of the most comprehensive plans to address Oklahoma City's 1,600 people experiencing homelessness to date.

After more than two years of planning, the mayor's homelessness task force has 24 new strategies.

Housing, transportation, emergency shelters and prevention are just some of the areas addressed in the plan.

Oklahoma City hired its first homeless strategy manager to help execute the plan.

Lindsay Cates, the homeless strategy manager, said new ordinances will be created to make affordable house more accessible.

“Someone could not just come in and say I want to develop without considering affordable units as part of their project,” Cates said.

On Tuesday, the City Council also got an update on "A Better Way."

It's a new program where panhandlers are picked up and delivered to jobs that pays $65 for the day.

Eighteen Oklahoma City residents participated in the first week.

Meanwhile, Councilman Bradley Carter's resolution pledging that the City Council upholds the U.S. Constitution in its decision making is still just a proposal.

Because the mayor was gone for Tuesday's meeting, the proposal was tabled for two weeks.

The latest tax collection numbers show Oklahoma City residents are spending.

“It’s across the board. It's retail, it's restaurants hotels, servicing, manufacturing; all sectors of the economies are doing well, right now,” said Oklahoma City Finance Director Doug Dowler.

Dowler and others predicted a 5% growth in sales tax figures compared to the last year.

In the first three months of the fiscal year, sales tax collection has seen 17% growth, totaling around $7 million more compared to 2020.

Dowler attribute the growth to the federal stimulus checks being spent.