The Pryor Budget and Personnel committee meeting started on a playful note, but took a turn toward the end.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, committee member Drew Stott left Mayor Jimmy Tramel a handful of pecans by his microphone.
“After seeing the agenda for tonight I was sure the mayor was nuts, so I brought him some company,” said Stott.
Tramel laughed at the joke, but enjoyed the snack for the rest of the meeting.
The first item on the agenda was the Mayor’s Financial Report in which he discussed the city’s sales tax. He said the city had a 5 percent increase year to date. Tramel said Pryor has two businesses opening downtown, a consignment store and a bakery.
“In addition to those two businesses downtown, we are discussing having a TIF district of nine shops,” said Tramel.
“Claremore, Broken Arrow, and Jenks all have a TIF district, we should do this to get people in here.”
TIF, or tax increment financing, is a tool local governments can use to restore run down areas or revitalize an economically sluggish part of town. They are essentially a reallocation of funds that attract private development and new businesses.
No action can be taken until an expert can be consulted and a resolution is passed by the committee.
The tone of the meeting took a turn when the committee revisited the proposal to create a supervisor position in the Pryor Police Department. The idea was originally proposed by Police Chief Dennis Nichols at the Nov.13 meeting. At that committee meeting, the issue was tabled to do further research on the cost of creating this position. Tramel began the discussion.
“I have the numbers we talked about. Dennis originally asked for bers for both,” said Tramel. “I know you guys think I’m nuts, but my suggestion at this time is that we table the issue until I can figure out where we are financially.”
Board member Drew Stott asked Nichols if he had been able to come up with a tentative job description per the request at the last board meeting.
“I have a list of duties he would be in charge of helping with. He would help with different projects so it wouldn’t be doing the same thing all the time,” said Nichols.
Stott asked Nichols if he had already started implementing this new position.
“We’ve already started shuffling things around and implementing these programs. If you’re going to do a three percent increase, then I would request that you approve it at this time,” said Nichols.
Stott quickly responded.
“Is it fair to the committee to start doing this without waiting for our approval?” said Stott.
“I run the police department, not you guys,” said Nichols.
“I hate losing a person off the street. It wasn’t but a few months ago that you were asking for patrolmen. Now you’re pulling them from the street,” said Stott.
“You weren’t concerned when you left us short-handed for years,” said Nichols. “That’s all I have to say. Thank you gentlemen.”
Nichols exited the room at that point.
Without missing a beat, Stott asked Tramel where he proposed the money for this position would come from. Tramel said he is confident the money would be there, money was saved in other areas of the budget. The committee discussed waiting until the November numbers were finalized before making any decisions.
“Will you let us know by our first council meeting in January if you have the numbers? If you don’t have them, we can push back the meeting,” said committee member Greg Rosamond. “That way, we don’t have to discuss this without having all the facts, again.”
The committee approved the motion to table the issue until the first January meeting.
With that decision setting the precedent, the committee decided to table similar items on the agenda.