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OKC has $8 million surplus, how will councilmen spend it?

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma has ranked high on the list for being one of the least in debt states in America. Now officials say Oklahoma City has a budget surplus.

So instead of a budget shortfall like many cities, Oklahoma City has a budget windfall of an extra $8 million dollars.

“No project gets done till the money is collected so there’s no debt involved at all,” said Larry McAtee for Ward 3.

He said not paying interest rates is one way they manage to save money.

Each councilman will have one million dollars to fund a project in their wards.

We asked tax payers what they would do.

Barbra Brown said “I would add more bus service.”

“The transportation system needs work we could use sidewalks too,” said Bruce Haven. While Marcus Zigler wants more community parks.

“I’ve asked Public Works give me the thing that’s next on the list and that’s what we’ll do,” said Pete White.

He doesn’t see it as a personal project but one his constitutes requested.

“We have polling every other year to determine what things are most important to the citizens and I can tell you that streets are always most important. So they’re always happy to see a road being fixed.”

In Ward 3 money will also go to pounding out the pavement.

“The area of streets that will be looked at very seriously will be south of Reno and west of I-44, that big mass of land where there is a tremendous need for resurfacing,” said Councilman Larry McAtee.

David Greewell for Ward 5 also wants to resurface streets as well as update the trail in Earlywine Park, remove debris and update bus stops.

Those 1,500 stops are Ed Shadid’s main focus.

“Bus riders have been waiting decades to have dignified bus shelters to protect them from the weather and from cars splashing them in the rain,” said Shadid.

There are guidelines that state bus stops should be at least five to 10 feet away from the curb.”

Sitting on this bench with his foot hanging over the curb, Shadid showed us first hand why this should be a priority.

“If you’re in a wheelchair, you’ve got to go all the way down to the light then come back to get on the bus because there is no ramp,” said Shadid.

He says treating bus riders with dignity will draw more customers.

He said, “I want us to create first class bus shelters that give real time stats of how long till the next bus comes.

Having transit maps that provide wifi would also be great.

Not all the council members are for this idea, Pat Ryan is against it. He thinks there is a lot of politics involved in what is chosen.

Ryan said the Public Works Department should determine were the $8 million dollars goes based on the department’s needs.

It will take another two weeks for everything to be finalized.