Mayor Jimmy Tramel loves Pryor.
He spoke to the Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce at the January luncheon in the Graham Community Building.
“I’m going to start about me, OK? Pryor; I love Pryor and everybody knows I love Pryor. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Tramel said.
“Look at this community, we give so much, OK?” Tramel said. “Can’t is a powerful, dirty word. Can’t is not in my vocabulary. I don’t like my grandkids saying can’t. Anything is possible if you try.”
Tramel said that no municipality in Oklahoma is funded by property tax, the money is all derived by sales tax. He said the sales tax in Pryor is up $102,000, or a 3.7 percent increase.
“That sounds like a lot of money, but it’s really not. Of that $102,000, about $47,000 goes into the general fund, the street department gets about $17,000, utility system $14,000, capital outlay about $4,000, rec center about $7,000. Tramel predicted in 2013 the city of Pryor will take in about $7 million.
“The general fund is going to have about 3.1 million. Our budget is five million. We have to raise additional revenue. The street department is 1.2 million. It cost a half a million dollars for half a mile to build and repair a street. We have to do a lot of things different and special to raise the revenue to keep what we have.” Tramel said the city gives the Municipal Utility Board about $933,000 a year. The city gets $550,000 of that back. “We watch every dime. I watch every dime,” Tramel said.
The city of Pryor pays 100 percent for employee health insurance and 90 percent of the non-bargaining employee familIes.
“We pay 100 percent of firemen’s health care and their family,” Tramel said. “We pay 95 percent of the health insurance for the police union. In addition to health care, the city pays for their employees’ dental care.” Tramel said the town pays for dental insurance.
Tramel said his agenda forward is to maintain what the town, growth and making the town more attractive. “I’ll say it again — it’s because of what we give.”
He said inflation and increased costs are unequal to revenue.
Tramel said grants are very important to bridging this gap. He said grants the town’s street department received have built sidewalks.
Another source of revenue came in with the passage of a bond issue approved the second time it was put before the voters. Funds for a new city hall are included in this bond.
Tramel said the new city hall project is ahead of schedule and the concrete will be poured soon. Tramel said the streets in the worst shape will be the first repaired.
Tramel said the tennis courts are so attractive that a tennis players from Midwest City came use the courts for a tournament. He said he wants the city to own all the sports facilities now owned by the school system. His reasoning is if the schools didn’t have to maintain the football field, baseball field, and other facilities, the school would have more money to invest in education.
Tramel said a good educational system is crucial for attracting people and businesses to Pryor. Tramel commended Councilman Travis Nolan for his efforts to have a committee dedicated to revitalizing downtown. Tramel said the restored chamber of commerce office at the corner of Graham and Mill Streets is important to upgrading downtown. Tramel said there is a program offered by the city to help businesses reface buildings to make them more attractive.
“We received a grant from Google and we are going to light up downtown Pryor; and what do I mean by that? We are going to have wireless Wi-Fi (Internet access). It’s going to be from 69 to Ninth and First (streets).”
Tramel said the free Wi-Fi is a 50-megabyte system. “In five years I want to have free Wi-Fi for the city of Pryor. I think we can not only do downtown, I think we can light up the football fields.” In addition to having new businesses coming into town, Tramel said there is potential for a new shopping center to open on the south end of town.
Tramel said he plans to form a TIF district for Tax Increment Financing. This means a business pays property tax on its own land, but the money doesn’t go to the schools or county for five years. During that time, the money goes back to the business.
“Wal-Mart is not Pryor school district. That’s Osage,” he said.
Tramel doesn’t like giving tax breaks to businesses because he believes that when a big box store comes to a town like Pryor, the small businesses suffer.
Concerning housing in the city, Tramel said there are only 27 lots available for new houses. He said several structures need to be torn down.
Tramel concluded by saying Pryor is an exciting place and its residents are all blessed to be here. “Can’t is not a word we can accept,” Tramel said. “It’s what we give, quality of life. I frustrate you. I frustrate my wife, because some of the comments I make are just out in left field, they are like thinking that OU (University of Oklahoma) was going to win the national championship this year.” Tramel went to Oklahoma State University. “I stick my foot in my mouth quite a bit.”