It seems like yesterday we were entering the first decade of the 21st century. Now, we are starting another 10-year period.
What has been Enid’s story? Some city and county officials weighed in on the subject.
Daron Rudy, Ward 2 city commissioner, said he is confident about the status of Enid during the past 10 years.
“I think we are tremendously better,” he said..” At the start of the decade the city had financial difficulty, and we couldn’t pay our bills. Now a decade later we are looking at projects that make Enid better, not just trying to survive.”
Financially, the city is much stronger than a few years ago. Rudy first served on the city commission 2004-2005 when the city still struggled. Now, he said there is development of industry in the city, such as the new Advance Food plant and many new jobs created here.
“The No. 1 thing that’s changed in Enid is a more positive attitude,” Rudy said. “We’re looking to make the city better, draw more people in. There is a school bond vote coming up and the opportunity to make Enid more attractive from an educational standpoint.”
Rudy said improving education will help bring more employers to town. Everyone is going in the same direction to improve the city, he said.
“Attitude change is the biggest thing. It was very dark at the beginning of the decade and now it’s positive,” he said. “During my first term it was a tumultuous time and now we are at the end of that dark period.”
City Manager Eric Benson said the biggest accomplishment of the decade was the March 2008 passing of a $7 million city bond issue to replace four bridges and repair four others, as well as a vote to extend and expand use of a 1-cent sales tax that had been devoted solely to water supply and distribution. Money generated by the tax still will go to paying water bonds but also will be used to build a new sewer treatment plant, to repair neighborhood streets, renovate Public Library of Enid and Gar-field County and build drainage channels and flood control lakes.
“I’ve only spent the last four years of the decade here, so my insight is very recent,” he said. “But, we’re poised to place some very important decisions to the people. They won’t be nuanced, they will be straight-forward decisions anyone can understand.”
County sees changes
Steve Hobson, chairman of Garfield County Board of Commissioners, said the courthouse financial situation is improved since Garfield County Detention Facility was built. However, operation costs of the jail continue to increase, he said. Still, finances have improved since the county no longer outsources prisoners.
The road districts, however, are a different story, Hobson said. At the beginning of the decade those accounts were in good shape financially, but increasing costs of fuel and oil and other road materials have placed a burden on road districts.
“In the near future, it’s anybody’s guess,” he said.
State financial problems affect the situation. This fiscal year, state officials have ordered across-the-board budget cuts of 5 percent and now 10 percent for state agencies, which impacts the money the state can reimburse the county for services.
County Assessor Wade Patterson said he was optimistic about the past and future. The main accomplishments of the decade were the renovation, weatherization and energy efficiency project at Garfield County Court House, he said.
“The reason for that is we are preserving it for future generations, and we did it with no tax increase,” Patterson said.
Another major project Patterson was involved in was the construction of the new jail, and the fact city and county governments are working well together. Patterson said the current administrations work together to make sure the public is served.
In the new decade, Patterson hopes there will be continued good service and he hopes to keep technologies upgraded. Patterson would like to see county government do more with less money.
“One thing we are working on, building a Web site for the county so the public can have better online access to county information and public records,” Patterson said.